STAX Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis, TN



The South East region of the United States is widely regarded as “The Bible Belt”, consisting of a number of conservative Christian belief systems that guide a portion of the population. The foundation that is provided in each of those systems, at best is a cornerstone in expressing empathy, forgiveness, pride and steadfast principles that informs decision making in both times of feast and famine.

Life can provide a hefty helping of either option without rhyme or reason, yet from what I gather, it’s those same beliefs which return individuals to a state of investment and renewal in their belief system for the next part of their overall journey.

If separating the larger picture of a journey into smaller, more intimate looks at our lives, the collective washing of our narrative begins to break down, which is to say that we all have our moments. Our days. Our times of grief, sorrow, love, excitement, joy and laughter. If life is to be multifaceted, as is our response and interaction.

Music reminds me of those specific moments being memorialized. Songwriters capture the feeling and heart of situations both real and fictional, finding ways that connect the listener to a recreation of how situations stir.

Even though it has been years since I have attended a regular church service, walking into STAX felt as cathartic as redemption in a pew. I toured STAX, walking past the history of American Soul Music. A full roster of talented artists created and performed music that spoke to the world alongside the Civil Rights Era.

Otis Redding is a personal favorite of mine, but I was torn to use his music with such a wide spanning number of artists that arrived to us via STAX that may not have as much notoriety. However, in reviewing how the music led me, it was Redding’s “Amen” that made the most sense for what appears to be a different kind of cathedral in STAX.

If in Memphis, make sure to add it to your list. And let your light shine.

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