$5 Cover: Memphis
By James Calemine
The director of Hustle And Flow and Black Snake Moan, Craig Brewer, serves as the catalyst behind MTV’s $5 Cover Memphis—a musical drama set in Memphis, Tennessee’s, contemporary music scene. Lead characters in this drama include the beautiful Memphis actress/Playboy bunny Clare Grant, the talented Amy LaVere, Lucero’s Ben Nichols and The North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson.
The storyline revolves around the cold realities of these artists struggling to live and create their music in today’s cultural environment. Filmed performances of the aforementioned artists and a few others appear in this episode. Brewer recently revealed his mode of operandi with this show: “I want whatever’s in their heads to come out…and musicians have a lot in their head and I think they’re comfortable in expressing that.”
Clare Grant (Walk The Line) gives a perspective essential to the vibe of Memphis’ music scene: “We do our own thing here in Memphis—it's loose and wild.” Another memorable scene involves Amy LaVere talking about the musical significance of the musician Jesse Mae Hemphill.
There’s no doubt Memphis exists as a cultural force from entities and artists such as Sun Records, Elvis Presley, STAX Records, Steve Cropper, Jim Dickinson, Stanley Booth, William Eggleston, Luther and Cody Dickinson that all prove notable local artistic powerhouses. $5 Cover Memphis conjures the real mojo and grit of the quarters around Beale Street these days.