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Memphis Music Fest Bringing Southern Funk and Soul to Granada Theatre

The Granada Theatre is proud to welcome the Memphis Music Fest to Santa Barbara at 8 p.m. Aug. 23, kicking off the 2013-14 Granada Theatre Concert Series.

This collaboration of Memphis’ legendary names in funk, soul and R&B promises to be an unforgettable night of musical talent. The Memphis Music Fest is a brilliant fusion of the sounds of Southern soul, featuring Booker T. Jones, The Bar-kays, William Bell, Jean Knight and Eddie Floyd.

Each of these original Stax Records musicians will be perform some of their top hits from yesterday and today, and then join together on one stage for an incredible performance.

Jones is best known as the frontman of the band Booker T. & the M.G.s, whose hit song “Green Onions” has been a best seller since its release in 1962. He is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history.

Over time, Booker has lent his trademark keyboard chops to artist as diverse as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and produced classic albums such as Willie Nelson’s triple platinum hit “Stardust” and Bill Withers’ “Just As I Am” featuring the hit song “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

For the Bar-Kays, spontaneity and excitement are trademarks of this horn driven band of R&B masters. In addition to backing some of the most distinguished names in R&B music, they had hits of their own with “Soul Finger” and “Anticipation.”

The group began as the house band with Stax Records in Memphis in 1966, and has evolved over the years all while creating many chart-topping hits. Today, the group consists of Larry Dodson (lead singer), James Alexander (bass player and founder of the Bark-kays), Tony Gentry (guitar), Ezra Williams (keyboard), Carlos Sargent (drums), Mark Bynum (keyboard), Darrel Stanley (background vocals), Archie Love (background vocals), Byrant Nesbitt (sound engineer) and Mike Anderson (guitar).

Jean Knight

Bell is a soul singer and songwriter, and one of the original creators of the Memphis/Stax-Volt sounds. While writing hit songs for a laundry list of soul and R&B greats, Bell himself hit the charts with “You Don’t Miss Your Water” and “Trying to Love Two.”

In 1987, Bell was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and that same year also received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s R&B Pioneer Award.

The lovely Knight is a soul/R&B/funk singer, who can truly do it all. She is best known for her hit single “Mr. Big Stuff,” which went double-platinum in 1971 and received a Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female.” Whether by dancing, singing or leading the audience in a handkerchief-waving romp, in concert Jean is truly a force of nature.

Floyd’s smooth, down-home soulful approach to a melody led his song “Knock On Wood” to No. 1 on the R&B charts — the third Stax single to hold that spot. In his records, he combines pop sensibilities with a down-home approach and a smooth, but soulful delivery.

By heading to Memphis, where the Stax Records musicians added support, and by singing every word with effortless enthusiasm, Floyd cemented himself as one of the premier Southern Soul Men of the 1960s.

This special show is sponsored in part by Lexus and the Santa Barbara Independent. Tickets range from $22 to $75. Click here to purchase online, or call the Granada Theatre box office at 805.899.2222.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.

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