Pictures and thoughts from a Memphis Musician's Wife

Observations

It seems to me that Beale Street is losing its luster. Most of the musicians who work down here regularly every week seem to grumble about the working conditions. The pay is never stable (quite a few musicians work for ONLY TIPS and a small percentage of what is sold at the bar.) There is not enough tourist traffic, and the street really isn’t appealing after certain hours. The music is quite often not what people expect to hear on this street. The economy has been extremely rough, and people don’t seem to want to tip the musicians. These guys go out every night and play their hearts out. People come in and watch them for hours, most of the time for no cover charge and without putting even a dollar in the tip bucket for the band entertaining them. They talk about how just a couple of years ago, it was nothing for them to go home on a nightly basis with $200-$300 in their pocket. Now the financial state of the economy is not good enough for people to pay that extra money for something they are getting for free. What people don’t realize is that these people train and practice, and this is their career. They are musicians by trade. They provide a service to all who come in contact with the sound of their instruments. They deserve to get paid just like anyone else does. Most of us could probably not do what these guys and ladies do. If you are in Memphis, TN and on Beale Street, please tip the bands you see if you think they are doing a good job, especially if you didn’t pay any cover charge to get into the venue where you are enjoying this entertainment. A dollar never hurt anyone.

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