USA Through Music: Memphis, Tennessee with Valerie June
Memphis has a song to sing.
To singer-songwriter Valerie June, Memphis isn’t just about blues- it’s about all of the deeply rooted genres that started in Memphis and flow out to the rest of the world- just like the steady roll of the Mississippi River.
At the age of eighteen, June performed in coffee houses around Memphis, including the popular joint; Java Cabana. It was the friendly spirit and community support of Memphis that gave her the love for sharing her music with others. Whether it’s the blues, rock and roll, soul or gospel, everyone in Memphis is humming their own tune and touching other people’s hearts.
Yet it all started down the road at the iconic Sun Studios. From Jerry Lee Lewis, to Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley, you can walk through the same recording studio that they would have used back in 1956.
Growing up, June used to sing gospel music at her local church and as a teenager, her first job was promoting Prince and Bobby Womack by hanging posters around her hometown in Humboldt and Jackson. June also worked in a coffee shop alongside writing music, and there she met the film director Craig Brewer, and became inspired by his discipline and craft in writing.
The heart of the Memphis music scene resides within Beale Street. It’s the home of catchy rockabilly tunes and mouth-watering smoky barbeque food. It’s Valerie June’s top tip for visiting Memphis- just put on your finest, walk down to Beale Street and you’ll find the spot you want to be.
Beale Street, home to many great music venues, is the place to be in Memphis.