Artist: Gedeon Luke
Although Gedeon Luke and The People light up any stage, it is magical to witness them on their home turf at the Levitt Shell. Gedeon Luke is a self-described Peaceful Revolutionary. His father was an R&B musician in Memphis, and his sister Evvie McKinney is a student at Stax Music Academy who often performs with her brother. Family, faith and music are high priorities in Gedeon’s life.
“Levitt Shell is a very important platform for independent artists. When you don’t have a major record deal it’s easier to have control being independent. The Levitt Shell steps in and helps artists like myself by giving me a stage to be free and tell my story with no fear.”
Born and raised in Orange Mound, Memphis’ oldest African-American community, Gedeon thrived in a neighborhood that has produced influential musicians representing almost every genre, despite the barriers of poverty, gang violence and drug abuse. Gedeon’s talent embodies true soul. He brings joyous passion to his audience. He credits his family, friends and audience with providing him the energy and excitement for his live shows. In this way, the love that he feels from the Shell is channeled to his audiences across America.
Gedeon lives a strong story of endurance through the power of music. The band’s debut album, Live Free and Love, was recorded old-school style – musicians together in one room laying down live tracks. Most of the songs are one takes with the band. Everyone entered the studio with a common purpose: to heal the world with a message of Love, Peace and Soul. Gedeon called in the best musicians to join him, including Jack Daley and George Laks (Lenny Kravitz), Sarah Tomek (Steven Tyler), Bobby Sparks (Prince), James Poyser (The Roots) and Karl Denson (Rolling Stones).
“If you are a Memphis musician, you are influenced by B.B., Elvis, Otis, Al, and Isaac. I remember listening to Soul Classic Hits on WDIA Saturday mornings while my mother cooked eggs, bacon, grits, and pancakes. Those were the greatest days of my life! That’s what made it all real . . . watching Mama cook and smile as we danced and sang . . . Stax knew it a long time ago and it’s my dream to bring back Soul, Funk, Gospel, Rock, and R&B. I like to call it ‘Memphis Soul Stew!’”
The Shell hopes to continue to serve as a creative space that highlights Gedeon’s talent and invites the city to enjoy a beloved, authentic Memphis voice. “The Levitt Shell brings people together under one common purpose and goal: that is to love. Love is contagious and when you are at the Shell it’s not about race or ethnicity, it’s all about love. We must continue to come together.”