Graceland attendance drop

The Memphis home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll saw a 4 percent drop in attendance from 2009 to 2010.

Attendance figures for Graceland released earlier this year in the 2010 annual report of the parent company of Elvis Presley Enterprises show more than 540,000 people visited Graceland in 2009. That dropped to about 519,000 people in 2010.

The annual report does have some interesting things to say about business opportunities at Graceland –

“The Graceland attraction was opened to the public in the 1980s and lacks many of the amenities and points-of-sale that one would expect from a tourist destination that garners over 500,000 visitors per annum. We see an opportunity to renovate the Graceland visitor experience as well as the adjacent Heartbreak Hotel to attract attendees and generate incremental per capita spending on merchandise and food & beverage.”

Debt Ceiling, David Waddell on CNBC and a former prez from TN

David Waddell, president of Waddell and Associates and columnist for The Daily News, appeared on CNBC a few weeks ago to talk about the U.S. economy as it relates to the “debt ceiling” drama.

“We don’t have a tax code problem,” he said, a nod to suggestions by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner that one of the ways they’d try to meet in the middle is by cleaning up the tax code, and somehow that would lead to everyone happily playing in the same political sandbox again. “We have an economic problem.”

Waddell took issue with a suggestion from the show’s other guest that symbolic taxes on the very rich don’t really solve the problem and that the economy really needs much bigger cuts in government spending than what either side is throwing around now.

Unfortunately, he said it’s not likely we’re going to rebuild the bloated ship of state into a sleek schooner between now and August 2 – the drop-dead date when the U.S. Treasury said it’s out of money and has to borrow more or else.

I wish I could inject into this frantic national debate some words from a Tennessean who once occupied the White House a long time ago:

“It is time to pause in our career, to review our principles, and if possible revive that devoted patriotism and spirit of compromise which distinguished the sages of the revolution of the fathers of our Union. If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy.”

Amy LaVere at the Shell this weekend

Amy LaVere is back.

Her new studio album will be released next week (July 19). It was produced by Craig Silvey, who worked with Arcade Fire on the record that won that band album of the year at the Grammys in February.

Some of the recording was done at New Orleans’ famed Preservation Hall. LaVere’s hometown fans get a treat Saturday July 16 with a CD release party at 8:30 p.m. at the Levitt Shell.

Amy told me about her plans in April 2010 shortly after she’d settled on working with Silvey for her new record. She recalled Silvey coming out to see her shows when she was in London, and he did the sound for her when she was in London to appear on “Later … With Jools Holland.”

“He gets me,” she told me. “He’s worth the wait.”

A sentiment that will no doubt be shared by her fans about, well, her when she turns up at Overton Park this weekend.

Spin.com apparently liked the new record. Here’s their review:

“Part winsome alt-country gal and part avenging angel, Amy LaVere has made the breakup album of the year. Starting with ‘Damn Love Song’ (imagine a swampier ‘Hell’s Bells’), LaVere shoots one poisoned pop arrow after another at her ex. “You Can’t Keep Me” sports a hostage’s plea and an ominous organ that recalls Steve Nieve’s shadowing of Elvis Costello. ‘Great Divide’ traffics in tricky, Talking Heads time signatures while lamenting the spaces between lovers. LaVere sounds like a gifted kidnap victim — scared, angry, resourceful. You just know she’s going to set herself free.”

What do you think about state and federal business regulations?

The state of Tennessee wants to hear from anyone who would like to sound off on which federal and state regulations are burdensome to Tennessee businesses – and how.

A survey can be taken at https://www.tnecdit.net/memphis. For purposes of the survey, “burdensome” is defined as an unreasonable rule or regulation which limits, restricts or hinders the normal course of business. The state says the survey is only for informational purposes and will be used to assess the state regulatory system. The survey also is anonymous.

The survey must be submitted by July 20, 2011. If you have any questions, contact Paul Fassbender at paul.fassbender@tn.gov.

Paul McCartney Plays a Famous Bass

In Tuesday’s Daily News, I wrote about a Beatles photo exhibit at the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

The Beatles loved Memphis. That also goes for Elvis, the king of rock so synonymous with the city. Elvis was one of many early inspirations for the Beatles.

Paul McCartney years ago acquired the original upright bass guitar played by Bill Black in Elvis’ early trio.

Here he is, clearly enjoying his toy:

Dansette

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