We invite you to join us at the first show of the spring 2017 season of the River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheather, a series of live music shows that benefit the Maria Montessori School. Held at the MMS on-campus amphitheater, a truly beautiful event setting on the Mississippi River in Harbor Town, the series showcases and celebrates the school, the river, the Harbor Town community and the musical talent of Memphis and beyond.
We kick off 2017 with Gonerfest favorite and Big Legal Mess recording artist Rev. John Wilkins, along with Crystal Shrine (Kelley Anderson) and DJ Leroy.
Though born in Memphis, Tennessee, Reverend John Wilkins is a child of the North Mississippi Hill Country. His mother was born in Holly Springs and his father was from Hernando. While Wilkins grew up in the city, family parties and neighborhood picnics featuring country blues and fife and drum bands were never farther than a short drive over the Mississippi state line.
Wilkins’ father, the venerated blues and gospel singer Robert Wilkins, whose classic “Prodigal Son” was covered by the Rolling Stones in 1968, was a principal influence. So, too, were the citified soulful sounds that were being pioneered by local musicians and recorded by legendary Memphis labels like Sun, Stax and Hi.
Through the 1960s and 70s, John Wilkins could be found playing in church, at parties, and at clubs. He played with O.V. Wright and M & N Gospel Singers, among others. Like his father before him, Wilkins walked a similar musical line between the sacred and secular.
In the early 1980′s, Wilkins life came full circle when he followed his father’s call to ministry. He became pastor of Hunter’s Chapel Church and ever since, Wilkins has led a congregation that includes generations of Tate county locals, as well as the late fife players Othar Turner and Napolian Strickland and their families, and numerous other regional parishioners and North Mississippi musicians.
Reverend John Wilkins’ debut full-length album, You Can’t Hurry God, was released in 2010.
The Reverend John Wilkins is the latest star in a long line of gospel bluesmen, and You Can’t Hurry God puts him right up there with the greats. But musical skill isn’t the point so much as the feeling behind the songs, which is pure soul. Even the heathens among us won’t be able to resist the power that moves through You Can’t Hurry God. – BLURT
Crystal Shrine is southern gothic blues/folk/pop music from Kelley Anderson, formerly of Those Darlins.
This show is sponsored by Regional One Health. The River Series is sponsored by Wiseacre Brewery, Miss Cordelia's Grocery, the Downtown Memphis Commission, and the Memphis Flyer. It is programmed by Goner Records and Shoulder Tap. Our art director is Brian Dixon.