A signature presence on the Memphis indie music scene, LaVere has reached larger audiences since the 2007 release of her album Anchors & Anvils. Playing a peanut-colored bass seemingly made larger by her diminutive frame, her lilting voice can flash with shades of Billie Holiday or Rickie Lee Jones. Read more
An enigmatic drifter who turned up in Memphis in the late 1990s, Harlan T. Bobo quickly fit into the Midtown garage rock scene. He's a capable sideman in groups like Viva L'American Death Ray Music, Love Clowns and Limes, but it was his country-tinged, self-released solo debut, Too Much Love, that really resonated with local audiences. Read more
Kate Crowder, 28, of Two-Way Radio, began forming the band's brand of keyboard-driven power pop in 2004. The outfit's first release, Proud Giraffe Walking Tall, was followed with 2007's Residential Llama. The latter caught the attention of $5 Cover creator Craig Brewer after gaining notice locally. Read more
Native Memphian Brad Postlethwaite formed Snowglobe while living in Athens, Ga., taking inspiration from the city’s psychedelic pop/avant garde rock scene. The band took fuller form when he returned home, collaborating with fellow Memphian Tim Regan to write complex, pop-rock tone poems. Read more
Cody Dickinson was born into the music business. The Southaven, Miss., resident is the son of producer/session musician James Luther Dickinson. He and his elder brother, Luther, formed their first band in elementary school before launching the critically acclaimed DDT with bassist Paul Taylor. Read more
Although he’s a filmmaker by trade, Craig Brewer, 38, is well versed in the legends and lore of Memphis’ music scene. His debut independent feature “The Poor & Hungry,” a winner at the 2000 Hollywood Film Festival, was a story about a stolen cello and had a soundtrack chock full of local acts. “Hustle & Flow,” released five years later, resulted in an Academy Award for Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” and, behind the scenes, netted credits for film scorer Scott Bomar and several local musicians. Read more
Self-taught, second-generation Memphis musician Paul Taylor began forging his own path years earlier, playing bass in bands like DDT and Big Ass Truck and backing up a staggering array of local artists ranging from the late guitar genius Shawn Lane to experimental music maven Shelby Bryant. Left to his own devices, Taylor is a creative powerhouse whose debut solo album, the masterful Open Closed, evoked comparisons to Big Star and the Beatles. Read more
Sun Studio tour guide by day, enterprising musician by night, Jason Freeman, 36, is determined to bring Memphis’ longstanding musical traditions into the 21st century. He cut his teeth in the jug band-inspired roots project Bluff City Backsliders and currently plays guitar in Amy LaVere’s backing band, the Tramps. Read more
$5 Cover Amplified Summary:
Intimate, thoughtful, always entertaining and often formally daring, the 12 documentaries that comprise the anthology "$5 Cover Amplified" reveal a modern Memphis music scene that is as creative, passionate and vibrant as in the city's commercial heyday, when Elvis, Isaac Hayes and Al Green demonstrated that visionary art and popular culture could be inseparable as the 'A' and 'B' sides of a vinyl record.
Produced as a complement to Craig Brewer's episodic MTV drama series/ new media experiment, "$5 Cover," the "Amplified" series of documentary portraits chronicles the rousing art, uncertain careers and sometimes problematic home lives of a diverse, distinctive and often eccentric group of Memphis music-makers.
Mesmerizing Valerie June croons confessional lyrics from beneath a Medusan tangle of dreadlocks that's as thick as her family ties and her musical roots. The puckish Tommy Chong-meets-Pippi Longstocking "clown prince of rap," Muck Sticky, proves to be as dedicated to the welfare of his mother and sister as to his own pursuit of happiness. Punk rock pioneer Jack Oblivian, who plays to sell-out nightclub crowds in Europe, makes ends meet in Memphis by cleaning houses. "Crunk" hip-hop artist Al Kapone is shown to be a tough but loving father, bringing new urgency to the concept of rapper as "role model." Troubadour of heartbreak Harlan T. Bobo is portrayed impressionistically, through stop-motion animation, allegorical fantasy and other conceits.
Whatever the focus or style, the direction of Alan Spearman, an award-winning photographer/filmmaker with The Commercial Appeal, ensures that each segment is as visually assured as it is musically irresistible. "$5 Cover Amplified" was co-produced by Spearman, Andria Lisle and John Hubbell, and edited by Eileen Meyer; their familiarity with the Memphis "scene" ensures unprecedented authenticity as well as access.
John Beifuss- The Commercial Appeal