The Latest: May 9

It seems like each Monday we start off by claiming that the past week was the busiest in ages when it comes to Memphis music news. Well, I guess get used to it, because here we go again…May kicked off with the return of Beale Street Music Fest and the International Blues Challenge, big news from HBO, several notable local releases, and the loss of a radio icon. ICYMI, we’ve got a quick rundown for you.

Stax Records docuseries set for HBO

Memphis’ Stax Records, which changed the face of popular music forever with their genre-defining Southern soul hits of the 1960s and 70s, will soon be receiving an HBO docuseries. The untitled series will explore the rise and fall of the label, which was founded in 1957 by siblings Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, and will be directed by filmmakers Jamila Wignot & Ezra Edelman. You can learn more about the series here.

Legendary Memphis radio DJ Bobby O’Jay passes away

Last Tuesday, news broke that beloved local DJ Bobby O’Jay had passed away at the age of 68. O’Jay, who was known as the “King of Memphis radio,” was inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame in 2021 and nominated for the National Radio Hall of Fame. He was also honored by iHeartMedia Memphis in 2018. O’Jay had been with WDIA since 1983 and also served as Program Director of the station. Prior to his arrival in Memphis, O’Jay worked in Milwaukee, Montgomery AL, Houston, Dallas and Chicago.

Midtown’s Minglewood Hall reopens after 2 years

Last Wednesday, Minglewood Hall hosted its first live event since 2020, marking the much-anticipated return of one of Memphis’ largest music venues. While the name remains the same, the venue has received some upgrades to its sound and lighting, as well as some other new design elements. You can check out their upcoming events here.

Blues Music Awards announces winners at annual ceremony

On Thursday, the 43rd annual Blues Music Awards were held at the Renasant Convention Center in Downtown Memphis. Guitarist and singer Tommy Castro walked away with some of the evening’s biggest prizes, including B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year for “Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, Tommy Castro,” and Band of the Year with his group The Painkillers. You can find the full list of winners at the Blues Foundation’s website.

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