The Bo-Keys

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In 1989, a new literary magazine was born in Oxford, Mississippi, celebrating the history and evolution of writing in the South.  In the years since, this treasured publication has expanded into exploration of all things Southern — including, to the joy of so many readers (and listeners), Southern music.

This time of year, anticipation runs high… mailboxes are checked frequently… and then, it’s here: the annual Oxford American Southern Music issue — which includes 2 CDs and which, this year, we’re thrilled to announce includes tracks from two Yellow Dog Records releases.  Tennessee is the target state this time, and, along with stars by the name of Elvis, Emmylou, Johnny Cash and Al Green, you’ll hear “Where Would I Go” by William Lee Ellis (from Conqueroo) and “Deuce and a Quarter” by the Bo-Keys (from The Royal Sessions) .  Check out the full track listing here!

Congratulations to Mary Flower for earning two nominations in this year’s Blues Music Awards! Mary’s new album Misery Loves Company is nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year and she has also been nominated as a performer for Acoustic Artist of the Year.

It seems to be the season of nominations for Mary.   She is also up for “Best Female Artist” at the Portland Music Awards, scheduled to announce winners on January 22.  This comes on the heels of Mary’s recent Muddy Award for “Acoustic Guitar” by the Cascade Blues Association.

Congratulations also go out to Eden Brent for her 4th Blues Music Award nomination for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year, as well as Jimi Bott (of Woodbrain) for his 13th (!) nomination as Blues Drummer of the Year and to The Bo-Keys for their nomination as Blues Band of the Year.

The Blues Music Awards (formerly known as the W.C. Handy Awards) are universally recognized as the highest honor given to Blues artists. And best of all, you can vote in the awards process! Visit The Blues Foundation to join, and then this link to vote once you are a member. Voting is open now through March 1.

The Blues Foundation will present the 33rd Blues Music Awards on May 10 at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, TN. Stay tuned!

Free music showcase, Thu May 5th, B.B. King's MemphisComing to Memphis for the Blues Music Awards next week?

We’ve joined forces with Electraphonic Recording to bring you an exceptional lineup on the afternoon of Thursday May 5, before the big Awards event later that evening.

Our good friend Valerie June will kick things off at 1:30.  If you haven’t had the opportunity before to be entranced by her special blend of “organic moonshine roots music”, you are in for a treat.

At 2:30, our own “Little Boogaloo”, Eden Brent, will be joined by Colin Linden, who produced and performed throughout her Album of the Year -nominated Ain’t Got No Troubles.

At 3:30, instrumental soul sensations The Bo-Keys will preview their long-anticipated new album Got to Get Back, the followup to their acclaimed debut The Royal Sessions, released by Yellow Dog Records in 2004.  Got to Get Back is set for release June 21 by Electraphonic Recording.

We’ll be at B.B. King’s at 143 Beale Street.  It’s free to the public so please stop by, say hello, and enjoy the music!

The soundtrack to the film Soul Men, featuring Yellow Dog artist The Bo-Keys, and staring Bernie Mac, Samuel L. Jackson, and a cameo by the late music icon Isaac Hayes, will be released Nov 4th by Stax Records.

Music naturally plays an integral part of Soul Men, particularly poignant with the appearance of Stax legend Isaac Hayes whose passing on August 10 was mourned worldwide. The 1968 No. 1 UK pop hit, Private Number (originally recorded by William Bell & Judy Clay) is given a solid makeover by soul singer/songwriter and musician Chris Pierce and Leela James accompanied by The Bo-Keys (whose line-up includes famed Stax musicians Willie Hall and Charlie Pitts).

Voice of America gives some love to the Yellow Dog Records roster, which they note “boasts some of today’s best blues and Americana performers.” Read the article here, or listen to the audio of the piece:

Yellow Dog Records boasts some of today’s best Blues, Americana

The animated feature film Barnyard is released today, and the soundtrack includes “Kick It”, a new song by The Bo-Keys. Skip Pitts, renowned for his wah-wah guitar on the theme from Shaft, plays guitar and sings vocals. Several other songs on the soundtrack feature The North Mississippi Allstars, who are represented by animated characters performing as the barnyard “house band.”

The DVD version of Hustle & Flow was released Jan 10th. One of the special features on the DVD is a segment called “Creatin’ Crunk” that documents the behind-the-scenes creation of the film’s score and soundtrack, which composer/producer Scott Bomar wrote and recorded with his band, The Bo-Keys. The special feature includes footage of Willie Hall, Skip Pitts, and Marvell Thomas as well as interviews with Bomar and the film’s directors and producers. Isaac Hayes is also on film as he stops by one of the recording sessions.

Hustle & Flow opened to critical acclaim, won the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and earned star Terrence Howard a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for best actor.

Update 3/5/06: Congratulations to the Hustle & Flow crew – “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”, from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack, has won an Academy Award for Best Original Song!

The film Hustle and Flow, directed by Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer and Executive Produced by John Singleton (“Boyz N the Hood”) debuted at the Sundance film festival to rave reviews. It won the American Dramatic Audience Award and the American Excellence in Cinematography Award, and was purchased for a record $9M for wider distribution by Paramount / MTV.

Could it have been the music? Well, perhaps the acting and directing had something to do with it as well, but Yellow Dog Records artists play prominent roles in the film’s music. The film score was composed by Scott Bomar and performed by the Bo-Keys, and songs by Mark Lemhouse and Calvin Newborn also appear in the film. In this article, Singleton enthuses: “To have these classic musicians is the icing on the cake to shooting a little movie in Memphis. You couldn’t do it anywhere else in the world.” This article also describes more about the the Bo-Keys’ role in the film score.

The Blues Foundation is sending out a press release announcing this year’s Handy Award nominations… and 2 Yellow Dog Records albums are nominated! The Bo-Keys are nominated in the “Best New Artist Debut” category, while Big Joe Duskin is nominated for “Comeback Blues Album of the Year”.

We’ll post more details as they become available – the full list from the Blues Foundation is posted here. Congratulations to Big Joe and The Bo-Keys!

Memphis soul powerhouse The Bo-Keys are currently at work recording music for the upcoming film Hustle and Flow. Scott Bomar’s score for the movie, directed by Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer and Executive Produced by John Singleton (“Boyz N the Hood”) evokes the heyday of soul music’s most creative era.

The Bo-Keys featured on NPR’s All Things Considered !

NPR’s review of The Bo-KeysThe Royal Sessions brought the album to the attention of millions of listeners, propelling the title to #42 on’s sales rankings. Reviewer Meredith Ochs said, “Don’t expect classic ‘60s R&B… Their version of the music includes lengthy jams and elements of jazz and hip-hop, but they still cook up a fine soul stew.” Hear the review from “All Things Considered” archived here. UPDATE: interview aired on the nationally syndicated “House of Blues Radio Hour” and new review on NPR’s Fresh Air, archived here.

This followed on the heels of a review in USA Today which praised the album as “steeped in tradition but with a thoroughly updated sound… a bubbling stew of Southern-fried soul.” Here’s the link to read the review online… and another link to read an earlier USA Today article featuring the group as one of several leading a resurgence of soul-based music. And, another recent feature in the Charlotte Observer also describing the Bo-Keys’ role in the “retro-soul” trend.

You can pick up the Bo-Keys’ debut CD, The Royal Sessions, at stores nationwide, or simply order here for immediate shipment!

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