The Memphis Botanic Garden crowd came to hear Huey Lewis and the News. So when Lewis, the legendary front man for the band, took time for an announcement, his fans were ready listeners. by Warren Roseborough
Special to the Tri-State Defender
|Huey Lewis (left) of Huey Lewis and the News performing Solomon Burke’s hit, “Got To Get You Off My Mind” backed up by Ms. Sandy (center) and Dauniele “Pie” Hill from Memphis.|
| Twins Kara Sledge (left), and Kala Sledge wait for their aunt “Pie” Hill to perform back up vocals for Huey Lewis and the News. (Photos by Warren Roseborough)|
| Memphian Jackie Johnson (left) and “Pie” Hill after performing with Huey Lewis and the News earlier this year. (Jackie Johnson Facebook page photo)|
Minutes into the performance last Friday (July 22), Lewis shared that all of the proceeds from the memorabilia on sale at the concert would be applied to the hospital costs incurred by Memphian Jackie Johnson, who suffered a stroke after signing on as a back-up singer for the band earlier this year.
Johnson, a regular at Heartsong Church and lead vocalst for The Memphis Sound Band, did not attend the concert. Her voice is featured on Lewis’ new album, “Soulsville,” which pays tribute to the historic soul sounds of Memphis.
The Memphis Botanic Garden appearance was a stop on the Huey Lewis and New tour featuring “Soulsville,” the band’s ninth studio album. Early into the set, Lewis covered Solomon Burke’s “Got To Get You Off My Mind,” and the Memphis-flavored lovefest was on.
The crowd rocked throughout the evening, which, of course, had the band revving up memories as it rolled out hits such as “The Power of Love” and “It’s Hip to be Square.”
The background vocalists were Ms. Sandy and Daunielle “Pie” Hill, another Memphis songbird, who had her own cheering “section.” Hills’ twin nieces – Kara Sledge and Kala Sledge – were soaking up the atmosphere.
The Sledge twins attend Melrose High School. Kara plays the saxophone and Kala sings in the choir. And, oh yes, both want to pursue entertainment careers.