Shemekia Copeland, Will Kimbrough, Jim Lauderdale,
Livingston Taylor, and Al Kapone to perform
Two of Memphis’ greatest natural resources – water and music – come together this holiday season as the third decade of Acoustic Sunday Live! presents The Memphis Concert to Protect Our Aquifer at 7 pm on Sunday, December 5, at First Congregational Church, 1000 Cooper St..
Acoustic Sunday Live!, curated and produced by Bruce and Barbara Newman will feature GRAMMY-nominated & multi-Blues Music Award winner Shemekia Copeland, Nashville singer-songwriter Will Kimbrough, Grammy nominated country/Americana Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale, and iconic singer- songwriter and folk musician, Livingston Taylor, as well as Memphis’ own rap and hip-hop legend, Al Kapone.
The concert itself will feature two sets with each artist performing two songs per set, and then will end with a big finale.
“This concert series has benefitted the Memphis community in various ways for many years,” Newman says. “But I am especially pleased to work with Ward Archer and his team at Protect Our Aquifer and the associated community partners to protect the environment in our own backyard.”
Formed out of necessity in 2017, Ward Archer founded Protect Our Aquifer thinking it would be a short-lived legal fight. It soon became apparent there is no entity working to protect the source of drinking water for Shelby County, Tennessee and much of the Mid-South. Protect Our Aquifer is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a force of citizen advocates challenging threats to the Aquifer. In four years, Protect Our Aquifer has become a leading voice in the science-based protection of the Aquifer and the people that depend on it.
“We are excited to be the beneficiary again this year”, said Archer. “This concert has become our largest fundraiser and will help cover the cost of our newly hired professional director.”
See below for more on this year’s Acoustic Live Sunday! performers:
SHEMEKIA COPELAND was born in Harlem, New York City. She is the daughter of Texas blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland. She began singing at an early age and her first public performance was at the Cotton Club when she was only 10. She began to pursue a singing career in earnest at age 16. When her father’s health began to decline, he took Shemekia on tour as his opening act, which helped establish her name on the blues circuit. She landed a recording contract with Alligator Records. Shemekia’s tenth album, Uncivil War, released in late 2020, produced by Will Kimbrough, includes guests like Jason Isbell, Steve Cropper, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and others. The album garnered two more Blues Music Award nominations to Shemekia’s long list, as well as four Living Blues Awards.
WILL KIMBROUGH was born in Mobile, Alabama, and started his musical career as a founding member of Will & the Bushmen, a popular college band in the eighties that produced a handful of albums and singles and made it to MTV. The Bis-quits produced an eponymous album which was released on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records label. Kimbrough is also a producer and has produced albums for Adrienne Young, Rodney Crowell, Todd Snider, Kate Campbell, Steve Poltz, Kim Richey, Garrison Starr, and many others. His songs have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, and he has collaborated with many artists including Rosanne Cash, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, The Jayhawks, Mark Knopfler, Buddy Miller, John Prine, Mavis Staples, and others. Kimbrough was recognized in 2004 as the Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association.
JIM LAUDERDALE grew up in Due West, South Carolina. Both of his parents were singers. He too sang in his early years, and learned the drums at 11, the harmonica at 13, and the banjo at 15. He has cited the influence of Ralph Stanley and bluegrass music from an early age. He played a variety of music, including bluegrass, Grateful Dead, and folk in a duo with best friend Nathan Lajoie as a teenager. Lauderdale’s solo debut, Planet of Love, was produced by Rodney Crowell and John Leventhal and released in 1991. Lost in the Lonesome Pines, a 2002 collaboration with Ralph Stanley, won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album, and his albums continue to win awards. Lauderdale has toured and collaborated with Larry Campbell, Hot Tuna, Elvis Costello, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Charlie Musselwhite, Ralph Stanley, Buddy Miller, and Robert Hunter. He is a long-time resident of Nashville.
LIVINGSTON TAYLOR is an American singer-songwriter and master folk musician. Born in Boston and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he is a member of an iconic musical family. He is the sibling of singer-songwriter James, Kate and Alex. Taylor is most notable for his Billboard hits “I Will Be In Love With You”, “First Time Love”, and “I’ll Come Running”. He continues to perform nationally and internationally, and has collaborated with Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett, and Jethro Tull. He has been a faculty member at Berklee College of Music since 1989. At an early age, he recounts his family’s musical influences. “We sang African songs, union songs, folk hymns and radio jingles. Lead Belly, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and The Weavers were the records we most listened to”. It was his mother, Trudy, who was the catalyst for her children to create their own songs. Liv began playing music for pay in 1963, In 1968, Manny Greenhill, who had managed Joan Baez for a time, got him a booking at a YMCA in Worcester, which led to some shows at Boston University. It was during one of those shows at BU that he had the opportunity to open for Joni Mitchell. Taylor was one of the first artists to sign with Capricorn Records in 1970, and his career has been active in every decade since.
AL KAPONE is a Memphis music icon. He is known principally for his underground success in the Memphis hip hop scene in the 1990s. After cultivating underground cult status in Memphis Al Kapone began to achieve some mainstream success, starting with his later role on the soundtrack to Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow. The soundtrack included one solo track, titled “Get Crunk, Get Buck”. He also wrote and produced “Whoop That Trick” and wrote “Hustle & Flow (It Ain’t Over)”, both tracks performed by Djay in the film. His song “The Deepest Hood” is featured in the 2007 film, Stomp the Yard. Al Kapone has collaborated with many musicians including E-40, Mike Jones, Too Short, Lil Wyte, and appeared on fellow Memphis hip hoppers Three 6 Mafia’s album, Last 2 Walk, and 8Ball & MJG’s Ridin High. He has toured with DJ Charlie White and guitarist Matt Uselton, as well as with six piece band of Memphis musicians called Tha Untouchablez. Kapone lives in Memphis, Tennessee and continues to hold the name as one of the first, if not the first, true underground legends of Memphis, TN. He is always supporting his city by collaborating with Memphis underground artists.
Acoustic Live Sunday! tickets start at $50 and are tax deductible. Premium live streaming is also available this year. ATTENDEES WILL NEED TO SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION & CURRENT HEALTH PROTOCOLS WILL BE FOLLOWED.