take me to the river
Courtesy to The Alligator

Sit back and dive deep into America’s rich musical history Monday night at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

“Take Me To The River,” a celebration of Memphis' ever-evolving music scene, is set to perform Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. as part of its nationwide tour, according to the press release.

Tickets can be purchased online. Ticket prices vary depending on seating, but students can buy tickets for $10, as well as attend the free film screening of the documentary the same day in the Squitieri Studio at the Phillips Center from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Based on Martin Shore’s award-winning documentary “Take Me To The River,” the live performance unites legendary Memphis musicians across generations on stage to recreate the evolution from blues to modern-day hip-hop.

“The initial vision was to really tell Americans where their music came from and how it influences and inspired the world’s popular music,” Shore said. “That story really hadn’t been told properly.”

One way they did this, he said, was by pairing legacy musicians with the stars of today to create new music.

This includes multiple generations of Mississippi Delta artists, from Grammy winners William Bell, Bobby Rush and Don Bryant to younger artists, Frayser Boy and Al Kapone.

Shore said the rhythm and blues, soul and rock of the ’60s fused a foundation that is still enduring today.

He added that the genres also created a sense of community and inclusivity, which is more important now than ever.

“It was all about what you had to offer, not about what the color of your skin was,” Shore said. “Whether you were male or female, or whether you were 70 or 10.”

Shore said the mission for “Take Me To The River” is to ultimately recreate this same feeling within the community.

“We’re all inclusive, that’s the way it was back in the ’60s when they were creating the music,” he said.

Shore said that today, people should be reminded to counter negativity with positivity and to just continue talking to each other.

“We are better together,” he said. “We are better including.”

Monique Blanchard, a UF alumni, is excited to attend the upcoming event.

Blanchard, 33, lived in Memphis after graduation and thoroughly enjoyed the city’s music events and open mic nights.

She said Memphis had a huge hip-hop community that she missed after moving back to Gainesville.

“The hip-hop community here is very, very small,” Blanchard said. “Almost nothing.”

She said that, in general, she sees more rock, indie rock and punk rock in Gainesville, so she is excited to see a hip-hop presence here.

“I just think it’s something that is growing and growing,” Blanchard said. “And it needs to be explored and studied.”

Ariel Williams, a 29-year-old Gainesville resident, is attending the event to try something new.

“I was just curious and interested to see,” Williams said. “This year, I’m focusing more on just kind of looking around and seeing what’s in Gainesville as opposed to just, you know, just letting certain things pass me by.”

Born and raised in Gainesville, Williams said she believes in being open to meeting new people and experiencing new things within the community.

“I’m all about building your tribe, building your local community,” Williams said.