The song "Graceland" was written by Paul Simon and released on his album of the same name in 1986.Paul Simon's recording of Graceland is so joyous and uplifting that the New York Times called it: "the rock album equivalent of a work of literature". Rarely does a cover version improve on the original, but the acoustic version of Graceland that Justin Townes Earle recorded in 2017 is an absolute masterpiece. He transformed Graceland into a raw hymn, and made it about the tortured journey of finding your way in a world replete with hardship and heartache.
Memphis is one of my favorite cities, and when I listen to Graceland, my mind immediately turns to my memories of that city. On the very last trip that I took with my mother, we visited Memphis. Like millions before us, we visited Graceland and wandered through the dining rooms, bedrooms, gun range, and Elvis's final poolside resting spot. We took in Memphis barbecue; listened to music on Beale Street; took a music-themed bus tour; visited the Stax Museum;saw a soul music festival; and stayed in a gun-lodge themed resort by the riverside. When I think back to Memphis, it is with sweet memories of the kind people that make this riverside city so special, and, at the same time, it is with sadness at the loss of my mother. Practically a year to the day after my mother passed away, Justin Townes Earle overdosed, and the world lost one of its most talented singer-songwriters.
In this series, I illustrate the way that the song Graceland makes me feel with a mix of different images.The series begins with images taken of Graceland itself. This is followed by snaps taken in different parts of the city, including several portraits of those who call Memphis their home.The series concludes with a few images of a model, Kate Ri, jumping up and down, like the character in the song who calls herself the human trampoline.