Hey all, thought I would share my trip to Memphis, and some of the epic places and gems I found along the way.
Memphis as you may know is in the state of Tennessee on the great Mississipi River. It is HOT, and it is HUMID. There are no direct flights in from SA, so we went in via Atlanta. The first thing that hits you in the airport terminal after arrival, is the BB King bar complete with gen-you-wine Gibsons mounted on the wall!
On exiting the airport building, there is this wall... promising start I thought!
I stayed in downtown Memphis in a hotel called the Peabody.. I didn't know it at the time.. but this was literally 2 blocks from the infamous Beale Street, and the Memphis Gibson factory!
Beale street for you Blues enthusiasts, was part of the well known Chitlin circuit where many of the blues greats cut their teeth.
Beale street is literally riddled with bars with live entertainment. Saw some really cool blues and blues rock acts over the 7 days I stayed in Memphis. Really great musicians. Wish I had a fraction of their talent. This act was in the BB king Bar, really cool band. Forgot the name though.. anyone recognize the bassist? He is a Grammy winning musician
Love the feel of places like this. They just feel inviting.
And how is this for decor?
Cannot walk the streets without being reminded of the musical heritage. The streets are literally lined with artist interpretation 335s.. a nod to the factory.. and obviously, nods to the great names that came from here.
This is the well known Daisy Theatre.. one of the Chitlin Circuit stops... again.. if those walls could speak..
This place got a bit roudy as well
Because man cannot live on music alone.. we found some epic eating places.. one of my favourites is a place called Automatic Slims.. needless to say, there is nothing subtle about the cuisine in these places. It is comfort food, it is BBQ based, and it is GOOOOOOD. The one dish here was number 3 in the world food championships.. note all the green on the plate?!
I was properly pleased to come across this little old place.. opposite the Fedex Forum near Beale Street.
It is one of the 2 factories. The other is located in Nashville some 250miles away. The Nashville factory makes all the solid body guitars, this one makes all the semis and hollowbodies. Curiously, this is also the only one that does tours. Needless to say, I paid up and went to go check out the factory.. Unfortunately we are not allowed to take pics in the factory.. but I was impressed. I walked away a fan. There is a fair deal of work done by hand and it was evident during the tour. Also, sadly this is the factory rumoured to be closing on the back of Gibson's money problems.. sad. The factory store had a really great selection of guitars!
Birdseye 335 anyone?
Another really great place for instruments was Martins Music. I was soooo tempted to pull the trigger on this PRS
One of the days we had put aside for this epic place. The one and only SUN Studio. Sooooo many great recorded here.. Elvis, Johnny Cash, U2, and hundreds of other blues artists. This place has serious mojo.
The walls are lined with many of the records made there.. so cool to just roam and stare at these things..
Check out some of the epic inhouse equipment!
Also totally cool, check the wear on the fingerboard of this upright... if that thing could speak!
The upstairs part of the studio has been converted into a bloody great museum, sooooo many interesting bits up there. Included in the museum are some artist instruments, and the remains of the famous WHBQ radio station. The DJ was apparently quite picky about music, and when he came across a rubbish LP, he would break it on the floor
Hope you enjoyed this... Memphis isn't one of the prettiest US cities.. but good lawd is it rich musically.. I walked away a fan.. it just has this inexplicable vibe.. I hope to be back one day!