It has been a year of deep losses for local music: from the death of the Memphis Horns' Andrew Love to the passing of Booker T. & the MGs bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, so many great figures from Memphis' golden era have left, and taken their stories with them.
Locally based Internet radio station allmemphismusic.com hopes to preserve part of that fading history. Launched in 2006 by longtime Bluff City deejay Jon Scott and record promotion man David Fleischman — and supported by the Memphis Convention and Visitor's Bureau — the online station streams to about 30,000 listeners each month.
Earlier this year, Scott and Fleischman were approached by native Memphians Paul Compton and Barry Shankman with an idea to do a show called "Voice of Memphis," built around long-form interviews with important figures, both performers and behind-the-scenes players, from the city's musical past and present.
"We consider it our mission to help preserve the Memphis sound as much as possible around the world," says Scott. "We felt these interviews would do the same thing.
"As you know, we're losing so many great musicians of late. In fact, we were about to interview "Duck" Dunn just before he passed away. More than ever it's just essential we do everything we can to interview as many people as possible connected to Memphis and the Mid-South, in order to have a record of their stories and history for the future."
Each episode of "Voice of Memphis" airs three times weekly: at noon Mondays, at 4 p.m. Wednesdays and at 8 p.m. Thursdays. Although the interviews are currently only streaming, they are being archived, and will soon be available to listen to any time.
So far, the list of subjects has included Ardent Studio founder John Fry, R&B drummer Willie "Too Big" Hall, Stax pianist Lester Snell, and Memphis Horns trumpeter Wayne Jackson.
Upcoming episodes include interviews with Derek and the Dominoes member Bobby Whitlock, and '60s rock legends like Sam the Sham and guitarist Steve Cropper (more information on guests is available at voiceofmemphismusic .blogspot.com).
In addition to "Voice," on July 1, allmemphis music.com will start a new weekly show called "Sun on Sunday" that will focus on Sam Phillips' iconic label and its various offshoots.
Scott says that expanding the programming to further focus on the historical aspects of Memphis music will be a boon for the station, which already has dedicated listeners in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
"We have listeners in countries I've never heard of," Scott says. "... It's the craziest thing. I'll look at the list and say, 'Are you kidding me? I have never even heard of this place,' and yet they know and love the Memphis sound. It's really remarkable. And it's another reason why it's important we keep this going."
'Voice of Memphis'
Airing on allmemphismusic.com at noon Mondays, at 4 p.m. Wednesdays and at 8 p.m. Thursdays.