Take Me to the River

Directed by: Martin Shore
USA | 95 minutes

A star-studded documentary telling the story of the musical and socio-economic history of Memphis.

‘Take Me To The River’ is the story of an effort to crystallise the music of Memphis, as young and old local artists produce an album showcasing the historical lineage of the city. The narrative also acts as a fascinating backdrop to a deeper exploration into the socio-economic and cultural factors that contributed to the formation of the early rhythm and blues scene. Through the film we see (and hear) the world and music change in tandem through record labels such as Stax and Hi, its eventual unravelling through the prism of the civil rights movement, and its re-birth as, among other things, a new cultural space and music academy.

The music created is exemplary, switching from soul and rnb to hip hop and funk, effortlessly nurtured by the frankly staggering array of artists who make an appearance. Familiar faces include Snoop Dogg, Terrance Howard (who is also the film’s narrator), William Bell, Charlie Pitts (the man who invented the ‘wah wah’ guitar sound), and Booker T Jones. ‘Take Me To The River’ is a timely reminder of the cultural power and influence that Memphis has had on the history of popular music.

Chris McShee

Join us at the legendary 100 Club after the Sunday screening for an amazing night of music featuring some of the cast of ‘Take Me To The River’. All screening ticket holders can attend with the same ticket.

BBC 6 Music: Take Me to the River

Screen International: Take Me to the River wins at Raindance


Martin Shore
Martin Shore
Cody Dickinson
Lawrence "Boo" Mitchelle
Nathan Black
Terrence Howard
Mavis Staples
Snoop Dog
Original Format