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Celebrating 50 Years of investing in memphis

As CEO, Duncan Williams has also continued his family’s commitment to the community, sponsoring so many community organizations and causes that the company has earned extraordinary name recognition. “Though most of our customers are out of town, Memphis is where we live. It’s where our families live. This is the place that made Duncan Williams, Inc. possible, and we are all driven to do our part to make Memphis the best it can be.”

“Our business is complex, but our approach has always been simple. When our clients do well, our employees do well. And when our employees do well, our company does well. And because our company does well, we can do so much more to make sure Memphis does well.”

— Duncan F. Williams, CEO · Duncan-Williams, Inc. —

Live at the Garden 2019

Premier Recap

April 11, 2019

Memphis Botanic Garden is proud to announce the line up for this year’s annual Live at the Garden summer concert series. The series kicks off June 7th with the classic rock band Kansas, July 13 with American rock band The Doobie Brothers, August 2 with singer/songwriter legend and icon Lionel Richie, August 31 with country powerhouse Toby Keith, and September 14th with country music’s best new male vocalist winner Brett Young.


 Sherry May

Live at the garden announces 2019 summer lineup

The highly successful Live at the Garden series, now in its 19th year, is held on the grounds of the beautiful Memphis Botanic Garden and has a capacity of 7,400. The series Title Sponsor is Duncan-Williams Investment Bankers, Inc. Presenting Sponsors are FedEx, TruGreen, Infiniti of Memphis, Regions Bank, Radians, ProShow, Mahaffey Tent and PDR.

“We are so excited to finally announce this year’s line-up. We feel that this year’s lineup is a great mix for true music lovers. It has always been our intent to deliver a variety of genres to our patrons, some years it just works out better than others because of the availability of touring artists and routings. But the really great thing about Live at the Garden is that it is truly a unique Memphis summer experience, not just a concert. ” says Sherry May, Co-Director.

Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers to the concerts.
Season Lawn Passes for Live at the Garden start at $225, plus fees, for the 5 show series and will go on sale Thursday, April 11th at 10am through or by purchasing in person at the Live at the Garden Box Office, located inside the Memphis Botanic Garden. All individual show tickets go on sale Friday, April 26th at 10am. General admission TruGreen lawn ticket prices will vary per artist and start at $46 plus fees.

    Recap Video from the Party!

    Take a behind the scenes look at the lineup!

    With a legendary career spanning more than four decades, KANSAS has firmly established itself as one of America’s iconic of classic rock bands. This “garage band” from Topeka released their debut album in 1974 after being discovered by Wally Gold, who worked for Don Kirshner, and have gone on to sell more than 30 million albums worldwide.

    Composing a catalogue that includes fifteen studio albums and five live albums, KANSAS has produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-Platinum albums (Leftoverture, Point of Know Return, Best of KANSAS), one platinum live album (Two for the Show), and two one million-selling gold singles, ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust in the Wind.’ KANSAS appeared on the Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and played to sold-out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe and Japan. ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ continues to be one of the top five most played songs on classic rock radio, and ‘Dust In the Wind’ has been played on the radio more than three million times!

    2016 marked the release of “The Prelude Implicit,” KANSAS’s fifteenth studio album. The wide-ranging progressive rock album is released on InsideOut Music, and marks the band’s first studio album release in 16 years.

    Throughout 2016-2017, the band celebrated both the release of “The Prelude Implicit” and the anniversary of breakout album “Leftoverture” with the highly successful KANSAS: Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour. That tour was released in 2017 as a live album, “Leftoverture Live & Beyond.”

    The band, which is currently comprised of keyboardist Tom Brislin, original drummer Phil Ehart, bassist/vocalist Billy Greer, vocalist/keyboardist Ronnie Platt, violinist/guitarist David Ragsdale, guitarist Zak Rizvi, and original guitarist Richard Williams, continues to perform in front of large and enthusiastic audiences around the world.

    Along with constant touring, KANSAS continues to remain a fixture of Classic Rock radio. The band has reached a whole new audience through their unmistakable presence on the popular video games Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and through their songs’ inclusion in various television shows such as ‘Supernatural,’ and ‘South Park,’ and with films ‘Old School,’ and ‘Anchorman.’

    The Doobie Brothers

    Lionel Richie

    The Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted Toby Keith two years ago and the Academy of Country Music gave him the Poet’s Award this year – exceedingly high songwriting honors amidst a career chock full of them. And with good reason. The list of writer-artists in any genre who have achieved or exceeded the collective airplay Keith has amassed is quite short. Artistic and commercial achievements aren’t the reasons he writes, however. Neither are awards. No, songwriting isn’t something Toby Keith does. Songwriting is who he is.

    Sure, there are songwriting appointments and a few close collaborators who join him on the road when an album’s coming together. But there’s also an unending torrent of lyrics and song titles being stored on his cell phone. Ideas and melodies are surfacing in everyday conversation, rising up from an old memory or jumping out during a round of golf. In fact, the only time Toby Keith turns off his songwriting is when he’s asleep or incapacitated – and even then a song might result. (That story comes later.) And so it is that throughout his career he’s written songs for reasons that have nothing to do with advancing his career. He calls them bus songs.

    “As long as I’ve been writing, there’s always been that one you had some fun with, but knew it wasn’t for anything else,” he explains. “You’re sitting around, somebody’s got a little groove going and somebody says something funny or risqué off the cuff. And the song just peels out pretty quick. Everybody’s laughing and you’re really having more fun writing than the song is good.”

    Don’t tell that to Keith’s fans. Bus songs have become among the most beloved tunes in his catalog precisely for that spontaneity and humor. That affection stretches back to an appearance on the syndicated Bob & Tom radio show. “They asked if we ever write songs we don’t want to record,” Keith says. “Either that time or the next time on the show, we sang a song called ‘Star Kissed’ and ‘Weed With Willie.’ They put it up on their website and a few days later called us back to say it was one of the most downloaded things they’d ever had on their site.”

    That was just the beginning. “We started doing those songs in concert and it just grew from there. They got no radio airplay, but everywhere we sang them, the crowd had already found ’em.” Soon, Keith was adding a bus song to his albums as a “curveball,” further cementing
    their place in his canon. All the while, new bus songs were being written.

    “There’s plenty we can’t even put on a record at all – so bad you can’t hardly play them anywhere,” Keith admits. “Eventually, though, you had enough that don’t go too far and people can laugh at. I had them all piled up and somebody asked if I’d ever thought of putting all the bus
    songs out as one album. I had ‘Shitty Golfer’ and ‘Wacky Tobaccy’ that I hadn’t done anything with, so I was able to add a couple new ones.”

    “Shitty Golfer” originated at Keith’s hometown golf club as he was debating the merits of tournament handicaps with his golf pro. “I was explaining to him that I thought the two-man system was unfair and some guy in the club popped off, ‘Hey, do you need a cry towel? Just go get in the hole.’ He was drunk, of course. I asked him if he was a good golfer and he said, ‘I’m a scratch.’ So I asked if he was on TV and he said he wasn’t. So I told him, ‘The good golfers get
    on TV, so you’re a shitty golfer like the rest of us.’ Then I went home and wrote the song because I am a shitty golfer. We all are … unless we’re on TV. I just wrote it because it needed to be
    written.” And not, clearly, with any aspirations of radio airplay.

    Likewise, “Wacky Tobaccy” sprung from a random conversation. “There’s an old dude I know who comes out to the race track a lot and he said that phrase one night,” Toby says. “I hadn’t heard that term in years, but I remember my dad saying it. There are so many new cool
    words for weed that somewhere along the way that became a real throwback. But what a slogan. Somebody needed to write that, so I thought about how my dad might have used it, and that’s the
    first verse. Then we rhymed up all the things we’ve heard it called and I thought, there’s a good bus song.”

    Several bus songs were products of Keith’s frequent USO Tours including “Call A Marine” and “Runnin’ Block.” “When you land a helicopter in the desert and you’re sitting around a forward operating base with 30 soldiers for an hour, I’m not under the belief that every
    single one is a country music fan, or a Toby fan,” he says. “But it is a bunch of guys and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well, offer them something.’ So I ask if they’ve ever been somebody’s wingman, but you get set up with a bad date? His wasn’t so bad but yours weighed 300 pounds?

    “I know that stuff may not be socially acceptable, but I don’t care. It’s not for that. It served a purpose and got a bunch of guys in the middle of a desert high-fiving each other. We’re just eating lunch, giving them a 30-minute smile, taking pictures, handing over their USO gift
    and then jumping on the chopper to the next one.”

    Keith’s dismissal of convention aside, several songs offer insight into how he’ll let the pressure off when things go too far. For instance, “Brand New Bow.” “I heard someone ask my dad what he got his wife for Valentine’s Day and he said, ‘I tied a brand new bow around the same old thing.’ And I said, ‘I’m writing that, no question.’ But I thought it was funny to make the guy in the song more of a dumbass. He’s telling her happy birthday while drunk as a sort of booty call.”

    Likewise, “Get Out Of My Car,” which was Bobby Pinson’s idea. “This guy is pretty hardcore after what he wants, all the way to the very end when he gets out of his clothes and she gets out of the car,” Keith says. “You’ve got to make that turn where it isn’t just a landslide. You
    have to be able to laugh at yourself as much as anybody else.”

    “The Critic” is probably the collection’s most pointed song. And yes, Keith had someone in mind. “She gave me an ‘F’ on my first album and on this Triple Play tour I was on. Then I came out with four No. 1s and sold a million records and no one went back to tell her she was a
    shitty teacher with her grading. Another guy got on me in a show review, but never talked about my music. He couldn’t find a parking space, the lights were too bright and it was just, ‘You suck.’
    So I figured I’d write about it. After the song came out I was doing an interview with this one guy and he kept coming back to that song, so I asked if it got under his skin. He said it had and I replied, ‘Now you know how we feel.'”

    Fittingly, the bus song that started it all is also the one with the best backstory. Epic, even. And it simply can’t be retold too many times. “I had the night off in Vegas and Charles Barkley, who’s a friend of mine, was having a birthday party at the Rum Jungle at midnight,”
    Keith says. “When he invited me he was like, ‘You’ll be there, right? Don’t lie to me!’ I promised him I’d be there. About 4pm, someone told us Willie was playing the Hacienda at eight. We went
    to the show and Willie brought me up to do a couple songs. As I was walking off he said don’t go anywhere, he wanted to holler at me on the bus.

    “I went out there, he played me a song or two and asked to hear one I’d written with Scotty Emerick, and so we played that. Then he broke out a joint. Now, I’ll smoke it, but it’s never been my high. I’m never in smoking shape and really can’t handle my high very good. And
    when you’re dealing with Willie’s stuff, you’ve got probably the best available to anybody. You know what you’re dealing with. So I didn’t smoke very much, but boy, I got shut in. I got off that bus and had everything wrong with me you can get. I just told my folks, ‘Take me straight to my room.’ So on Saturday night in Vegas I laid down on my bed, alone in my room and missed everything.

    “Got up the next morning and I had about 30 messages on my phone from everybody,” Toby continues. “‘Charles wanted to know where you were. What happened? What’s going on?’ Scotty called and I told him the story. ‘Well, I got on Willie’s bus and I’ll tell you what, I’ll never
    smoke weed with Willie again.’

    “‘By the way,’ I said. ‘We ought to write that.’ We punched it up a little, but the song gets to the same conclusion as the real thing.”

    That, not coincidentally, is also how The Bus Songs got its title. Toby explains: “Someone asked if I was going to do a cut on ‘Weed With Willie,’ and I said, ‘No, we can’t cut it. That’s just one you sing on the bus with your friends after a show. It’s a bus song.'”

    Well “Weed With Willie” ended up being much more, and The Bus Songs are now a significant if lighthearted insight into exactly who Toby Keith is – a songwriter for all occasions. “We’ve probably got 35 or 40 of these things and some of them are offensive in every way,” he says. “But they’re poems and this is America, so we’re allowed to do that. We love to laugh and have a great time, so these songs just happen naturally. And as long as people are grinning and enjoying themselves over a beer, then that’s okay.”

    Brett Young

    Watch a pitcher out on the mound, on any team, from a nine-year-old kid in the Babe Ruth league all the way up to a million dollar ace in the Majors. There’s a look in his eyes—an intensity—that goes right to his core.

    And when you see that look in Brett Young’s baby blues, it isn’t too hard to understand what took this California boy from a ball field to the recording studio. His gritty vocals and impassioned lyrics are built on the same firm foundation that had him as a pre-draft selection of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays straight out of high school—hard work, sheer talent and that thing music industry execs and baseball talent scouts alike simply call heart.

    Those same qualities have gotten Brett’s songs placed on television shows like MTV’s The Real World and Kardashian pop culture favorite Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and his feet planted firmly on some of the most well-known stages in the world—The Roxy, The Troubador, The Viper Room, sharing those stages with some of pop music’s best and brightest, from Colbie Caillat to Gavin DeGraw to Katy Perry.

    Not bad for what Brett Young once thought would just be a “hobby.” But when a major elbow injury and reconstructive surgery took him off the pitcher’s mound for good, he found out that his love for music became so much more, and what he thought was the end was only the beginning.

    “Everyone leaves a trail of ‘almosts’ and bittersweet memories behind on the road to ‘the one’,” says Brett. “It happened to me on my journey—it happens to everyone. Now I use those moments when I write music. I guess it is fortunate for me that people most easily relate to heartbreak. I’m an over-emotional, hopeless romantic who feels everything, and that shows in my songs.”

    With three independent albums already under his belt, Brett is taking his newest batch of songs into the studio with David Hall at the production helm, known for his GRAMMY Award winning work as an engineer, with artists of nearly every genre. And true to form, he’ll be showcasing that intensity and emotion in his recordings, of songs like “Fire” and “Breathe Again.”

    “I grew up with Al Green, Marvin Gaye—soul singers. I like that the emotion carries the songs, where the music is almost secondary,” he says. “Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy Love’—that’s just timeless. They influence me; as a songwriter and a performer, I want to connect like they did. And when your audience feels like they can relate, then you have something much more special than a show, or a sale. You have a fan.”

    When it comes to Brett Young, it isn’t so far from a pitcher’s mound to a major stage, and it doesn’t really matter what kind of Big Show you’re talking about. Because in the end, when you have that thing called heart, it shows. You may see it in his eyes, but you’ll hear it in his voice. Brett has since played venues ranging from House of Blues to Troubadour, and shared the stage with such artists as Mandy Moore, Tyrone Wells, Jason Reeves, Gavin Degraw, Tyler Hilton, Katy Perry, Hoku and many more. Brett recently released his second record, Make Believe and is currently in the studio finishing up his latest album.

    Live at the Garden is now in it's 19th music-filled year! Each year, the Memphis Botanic Garden is the setting behind the successful Live at the Garden concert series.

    Beginning June 5, 2001 with our first performer, Memphis' own Issac Hayes, Live has grown into one of the most successful outdoor entertainment venues in the United States, voted by Memphians as Best Event in Memphis last year! Live is a series of 5 concerts, beginning in June and continuing through fall each year. Season tables and season lawn tickets are hot commodities! Individual show tickets are also sold through

    Over the past 17 years, Live at the Garden has played host to such great artists such as Rob Thomas, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The Goo Goo Dolls, Diana Ross, Styx, ZZ Top, Robert Plant, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Train just to name a few.

    With 2,500 people seated at white linen-cloth tables, and 4,500 people partying on the lawn, where else can you sip a cold beverage, relax and listen to some of the hottest touring artists in the world? Whether you bring in your own food and drinks, pre-order from one of our Live at the Garden caterers, or purchase on-site, Live at the Garden has everything you need for a great Memphis night!

    The Concert Series is one of the largest fundraisers for the Memphis Botanic Garden. Memphis Botanic Garden encompasses over 96 acres of sweeping vistas, lakes & woodlands, display gardens, the renowned Japanese Garden of Tranquility, the Sensory Garden & My Big Backyard family garden.

    This community gem serves over 40,000 area children annually and sees over 150,000 visitors, offering education programs from children and adults, art programs and exhibits, and special events.



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