As they’ll tell you in the $5 Cover trailer (embedded below), every city has a story. Well, this one’s about Memphis, Tennessee, that capital of American music where landmarks like Graceland and Sun Records share a zip code with the Beale Street BBQs and grown-over backyard bandshells that hosted the humble beginnings of Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Carl Perkins and countless others.
These days, the pomade and blue suede that kept those rhythm and blues pilgrims slick are in shorter supply, but the music has only gotten louder and more diverse. Between Lucero’s whiskey growl, Amy LaVere’s musky seductions, Al Kapone’s blues-driven rap rants and Two Way Radio’s saccharine squeal, Memphis has enough homegrown talent to nightly light up every old marquee in Tennessee.
That’s where Craig Brewer comes in. The same visionary exporter who turned the world on to the ho-slapping Memphis rap circuit with Hustle & Flow picks up where he left off, delivering new windows into Southern music’s subcultures. As he did last time around, Brewer casts local musicians as themselves. And while they do go by a script, it’s all drawn from their lives and peppered with plenty of improvisation.
Show-stopping musical performances mingle with tricky marriages, dead end jobs and heated inter-roommate love triangles. Basically $5 Cover exists to document the everyday dramas of the Delta’s foremost flavor-purveyors, the mundane details of this town’s least boring characters. Watch them in bite-sized installments and get yourself hooked on that same old electricity that set the King of Rock’n’Roll’s thighs flying and made all the girls scream. Meet the players here, get familiar, and do yourself a favor: watch $5 Cover. Trust me.