This weekend will find me attending the Beale Street Music Festival, the transcendent rock and blues bash held each May at Tom Lee Park along the Mississippi River in Memphis. In addition to plenty of beer and barbecue, my visit will feature a pilgrimage to B.B. King’s on Beale. The blues giant first came to Memphis nearly 70 years ago and worked as a disk jockey on local radio before embarking on his pioneering career.
Much of that background is featured in a new King documentary, “The Life of Riley” (as in Riley B. King). The documentary is scheduled to play selected theaters starting May 21 and hit on-demand June 1. You can catch it on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital platforms come June 17. Here’s the background:
King worked closely with director Jon Brewer for 2 years to create this powerful film. The heartfelt contributions from a plethora of music's superstars were a vast indication that this was the time for his story to be told. At 88 years old, King, his family, friends and contemporaries unveil the true-life drama that was the springboard for the future “King of the Blues.”
The film includes appearances and contributions from: Aaron Neville, Bill Cosby, Bill Szymczyk, Bill Wyman, Bono, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Willis, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Carver Randle, Derek Trucks, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, George Benson, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Walsh, John Mayer, John Mayall, Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mick Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Paul Rodgers, Rev. David Matthews, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Slash,, Susan Tedeschi, Tina France, Walter Trout, and Wayne Cartledge.
The DVD and Blu-ray release features live footage from the Royal Albert Hall, some of which includes special guests Ronnie Wood, Susan Tedeshci, Derek Trucks, Mick Hucknell, and Slash. In addition, there are bonus interviews from Buddy Guy, Mick Hucknell & Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Derek Trucks, Bobby Bland, Walter Trout, Susan Tedeschi, Carlos Santana, Joe Bonamassa, Dr. John, John Mayall, Slash, and Leon Russell.
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