The producers of TNT's Memphis Beat
, a new TV show about a blues-loving cop in Memphis, planned just to have Bay Area singer and harp player John Nemeth
record a song for an upcoming episode -- a Howlin' Wolf tune. The plan was to get Nemeth's cut in the can, then hire some actor to lip-synch the performance for actual show.
But after hearing a recording of Nemeth's original tune "Daughter of the Devil," and watching Nemeth record in L.A., the producers decided to get Nemeth himself to play the on-camera bluesman. Which of course, he did. Nemeth will appear on the August 3 episode of Memphis Beat, entitled "Suspicious Minds."
There are a lot of insipid blues singers out there, but thankfully, Nemeth isn't one. His current album, Name the Day!, is on Billboard's Top Ten blues chart (we're not sure how much that means), and he's been featured on NPR lately, but more importantly, Nemeth can sing in a way that doesn't make us embarrassed to say we like the blues. He's also performing the National Anthem at this Saturday's Giants-Dodgers game.
TNT's show Memphis Beat
looks at the city through its crime and its music. We haven't seen any of it, but we did have to pick some nits with the show's slogan: "Keeping the peace in the birthplace of the blues." Beale Street is legendary -- and one very early blues tune was called "The Memphis Blues" -- but the music was pretty clearly born before that
, farther down south.