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Movie with the Memphis Sound
By John Beifuss | April 3, 2008

The Peabody ducks are used to bright lights and rubberneckers. But the tourists who lined the mezzanine above the lobby and aimed their cameras in the direction of the hotel's celebrity waterfowl one evening last week were stalking bigger game: Movie stars Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson, shooting scenes for "Soul Men," a comedy that will cast a warm spotlight on Memphis and Memphis music in particular when it hits theaters nationwide in October.

Described by one observer as "'Grumpier Old Men' meets 'The Blues Brothers,'" "Soul Men" -- which finished shooting Tuesday in Los Angeles -- casts Jackson and Mac as Louis and Floyd, foul-mouthed former backup singers and estranged survivors of The Real Deal, a classic rhythm-and-blues vocal group that had its heyday in the 1970s.



South by Southwest: Tennessee heats up Texas
By Bob Mehr | Mar 13, 2008

In 2008, the South by Southwest music conference reached what may be a peak in its nearly quarter-century history. Music experts, casual fans and everyone in between descended on the Texas capital for a perfect storm of day parties, nighttime showcases and after-hours events. If you said there wasn't a single second of the four-day festival where someone wasn't playing somewhere, you'd not be far wrong.


Back to Memphis, This Time Making The City Moan
By Mark Olsen | February 11, 2007

IF contemporary Memphis has found its Fellini in Craig Brewer, the young director best known for “Hustle & Flow,” then the film’s composer, Scott Bomar, is its Nino Rota.

Or so Mr. Bomar would explain the collaboration that has now produced a second provocative, music-rich look at suffering and sex on the Mississippi: “Black Snake Moan,” scheduled for release this month by Paramount Vantage.

“To me Craig’s films are regional the same way Fellini’s were about Rome, where it’s really the main character in his films,” Mr. Bomar said in a recent interview in a Sunset Strip coffee shop. “With Craig I think it’s Memphis and the mid-South.”


Brewer's 'Moan' howls North Mississippi blues
By Chris Morris | Nov 30, 2006

The importance of music in Craig Brewer's new film "Black Snake Moan" is telegraphed by some key billing: Mississippi bluesman Son House, who died in 1988, receives a featured screen credit.

Brewer's Paramount Vantage feature arrives Feb. 23; its rich soundtrack album will be released Jan. 30 by New West Records. Brewer's 2005 breakthrough "Hustle & Flow" was set in Memphis' rap scene (and won a best song Oscar, for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," for hometown rappers Three 6 Mafia). The director's forthcoming follow-up takes
place in a small North Mississippi farm community, with some key action unfolding in a local juke joint.



'Moan' music man
by Michael Donahue | October 21, 2005

A 1950s spinet piano sparked Scott Bomar's music career. "I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house and that piano was there," said the 30-year-old Bomar, indicating the instrument standing amid the recording equipment at
his Midtown studio. "My uncle had an old electric guitar . . . that was sitting under her couch gathering dust. Bomar
with actor Samuel L. Jackson during a break in recording at Ardent studio for the soundtrack of "Black Snake Moan."

So, just kind of out of boredom, I started messing around on the piano and the guitar. Just to kill time, really."



Sam in the Studio
By Andria Lisle | September 7, 2005

Last week, as the remnants of hurricane Katrina descended on Memphis, Black Snake Moan screenwriter/director Craig Brewer, music supervisor Scott Bomar, editor/engineer Kevin Houston, studio engineer Matt Martone, assistant Curry Weber, and actor Samuel L. Jackson, who stars as "Laz," the movie's central character, holed up at Midtown's Ardent Studios to produce several songs for the movie, which begins production later this month.

The rural atmosphere of Black Snake Moan marks a departure for Brewer, whose first two projects, The Poor and Hungry and Hustle & Flow, were based in contemporary Memphis. While its story also takes place in the present, Black Snake Moan is staged in the shadows of the big city, in some anonymous, outlying town where juke joints and honky-tonks still reign supreme for weekend partygoers.

Two Worlds Collide
Regional rapper David Banner and turntable legend DJ Shadow make an unlikely pairing. Memphis plays a part.
By Andria Lisle | November 4, 2005

This is David Banner's time. The Jackson, Mississippi-based rapper's fourth album, Certified, debuted at number 6 on the Billboard charts, nestled between releases from Barbra Streisand and Earth, Wind & Fire. "Play," the album's lead track, broke onto the Hot 100's Top 10 list, and Banner's efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims landed a favorable notice in The New York Times. In October, Banner was particularly busy: He recorded a series of exclusive, crunk-based ringtones for the Urban World Wireless network, filmed scenes for his silver-screen debut (Banner's portraying Tehronne, a character in Craig Brewer's latest movie, Black Snake Moan), laid down a new version of "Play" for the NBA, and contributed a rap to an upcoming DJ Shadow project.



Hollywood Reporter
Dance Music
Up-and-coming composers reveal that Sundance produces more than just talented filmmakers.
By Dylan Callaghan | April 19, 2005

At January's Sundance Film Festival, the ubiquitous hum of dealmaking was accompanied by a notably eclectic array of film scores. Indeed, the festival's lineup, which is always marked by an emphasis on diversity, boasted one of the most varied collections of composers ever -- from rockers to the classically trained, unknown aspirants to established heavweights.

"It's a real range of backgrounds," Sundance Composers Lab director Peter Golub says. While he is loath to cite unequivocal music trends amid such a varied lineup, Golub did see a larger stylistic bearing in this year's scores. "The one thing that keeps coming up recently in my work as a composer at the lab (is that) directors nowadays want more ambiguity -- they don't want music to be manipulative."