Elizabeth Cawein

Elizabeth Cawein is the founder and director of Music Export Memphis, which leverages public and private support to function as an export office for Memphis music, creating opportunities for musicians and driving economic development through music and culture. She is also an adjunct professor of music publicity at the University of Memphis, and in 2019 will teach a new course she developed on Music Urbanism at Rhodes College.

Your new resolution: Listen to more Memphis music in 2019

By Published: January 23, 2019 9:14 AM CT

According to a probably reputable news source I consulted this week, Jan. 12 is a dark day for New Year’s resolutions.

Apparently, that’s the day – not even two full weeks into the new year – when most people report throwing in the towel on their resolutions.

I’ve never been much for them, myself. A nerd through and through, I tend to seek out my new beginnings and turn over my leaves in the fall, when sense memory takes me back to the start of a new school year. Who has the energy to form new habits in January, anyway?

So since, statistically speaking, it’s pretty likely that you’ve already given up hope of any major self-improvements in 2019, I’ve got something for you that I promise will be easier to stick with than that Keto diet. Easier, definitely more fun, and almost guaranteed to make you happier in 2019.

Your new (post-Jan. 12) resolution: Listen to more Memphis music in 2019.

I am confident in my promise that it’ll be easy for you to keep this resolution, because you’re reading this column and I’m going to be your enabler for the next 12 months. I’ll offer up a few other ideas for getting your Memphis music fix, but if you do nothing else but come back here regularly for a fresh playlist of songs, you will absolutely discover something new.

In addition to pressing play on the mix I’m about to share, I hope you’ll think about getting out to a show or buying a record by a Memphis band this year (or even better: many, many shows, and many, many records). You can buy that record from the band directly when you go see them play, or you can pick it up at a locally owned shop like Shangri-La or Goner Records. And if you don’t know where to start, those folks would love to be your Sherpas through the latest Memphis music.

But first, the playlist! It’s important to note that though this mix is called “New Year, New Tunes,” not all of these songs are brand new. Many of them did come out in 2018, but some are a little bit older. The idea here is really that I’m willing to bet – even if you’re already a Memphis music fan – that a good few of these tracks will be new to you.

It’s a hunch I have because some of these songs were even brand new to me as this playlist was coming together. I enlisted the help of Music Export Memphis board members to create a mix as eclectic as possible, so that hopefully you find something you like and want to explore more, no matter what your tastes. Shameless plug: You can meet all of our board members and learn more about MEM on our brand-new website, which just launched last week!

Shout-out to Catrina Guttery, who always keeps me up on the heavier side of things – you can enjoy her music curation every week on "Memphis Made" on Rock 103, another great way to keep your resolution; Baylee Less, who discovers all sorts of new Memphis artists in her role as talent booker for SoFar Sounds Memphis; and Leah Gafni, who gets to help tell our city’s music story in her work at Memphis Tourism, for sending me songs for this month’s mix.

This mix has a little something for everyone, from rock to folk to pop, country, hip hop, R&B and back again. It also includes some of our recent Music Export Memphis Ambassadors (Aaron James – “Nativity Song,” and Marco Pave – “Neva Lost”) and a few artists from our A3C showcase in Atlanta back in October (Daz Rinko’s “New Whip Who Dis” will be in your head for days, and Cameron Bethany features on the Aaron James track).

Most of the goals we all set each January, or at least until Jan. 12, are about bettering ourselves. Which makes sense, but what I love about this resolution – that I’m confident you’re on board to adopt for 2019 – is that it doesn’t just make your life better. Although trust me, your life will be better, funkier, more soulful, brighter and way more in the pocket. This resolution makes our city better.

When we support our musicians, they’re able to make a living creating music for us to enjoy. They make our city more vibrant, they keep it creative, eclectic and weird. They can quit one of their six side hustles to write even more new music for us to enjoy. So first, turn up the volume on this mix. But next, maybe pick a few favorites and buy their albums. Go see them live. Buy a T-shirt. Resolve to be a Memphis music fan in 2019.

<strong>Elizabeth Cawein</strong>

Elizabeth Cawein


Music Export Memphis Daz Rinko Cameron Bethany Marco Pave Aaron James

Comment On This Story

Email Editions

Sign up for our morning and evening editions, plus breaking news.