‘Looking Past the Pandemic’ with Scott Bomar from Memphis, Tennessee

Keeping travel dreams alive and setting goals has never felt more important. We can all agree that 2020 has been an unfortunate year so far, and almost every facet of daily life has been wrought by this ongoing global pandemic, the start of which now feels like forever ago. The arts has been one of the hardest hit areas, so The AU Review has kickstarted a Q&A series “looking past the pandemic”, encouraging creatives from around the world to share their travel hopes, dreams, and the thoughts or things that are getting them through 2020, while also highlighting essential experiences in their own country.

Scott Bomar (Memphis, Tennessee)

As the head of Memphis-based soul-jazz band The Bo-Keys, Scott Bomar is an integral part of the city’s famed music scene, as regular behind the scenes as he is on stage with Don Bryant. While he’s always got something cooking up in the studio, Bomar is especially prolific when it comes to the film industry, constantly collaborating with fellow Memphis resident and director Craig Brewer, handling the scores for many of his films like Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan, and most recently, The Eddie Murphy comeback Dolomite Is My Name.

We caught up with Scott Bomar to look past the pandemic.

When travel opens up completely, the first place I’m going is…
I would really like to go to Japan, I have never been. We also tour in France quite a bit and it would be good to get back there when things open up.  

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Three spots in Memphis I think everyone should visit at least once in their life…

Limiting it to only three is hard! Stax Museum of American Soul Music, downtown Memphis and the Cooper-Young neighbourhoods.

Whenever I have a visitor in my city and I want to show them a good night out, the first place I take them is…

Bar DKDC and its sister restaurant next door, The Beauty Shop in the Cooper Young neighbourhood.

We’d end the night at…
After a night out in Memphis there are so many good spots to take visitors! The Belmont Grill is my pick.

Most memorable thing I’ve eaten while on the road…

We tour quite a bit in France and Italy and have had a few very memorable meals in both countries. We have played the Porretta Soul Festival in Porretta, Italy a few times and I would say every meal I have had there stands out.  

Blues on Broadbeach is one of many free music festivals on the Gold Coast each year.

The one international venue I’ve always wanted to play…
Blues on Broadbeach Festival on the Gold Coast.

The one international destination I’m yet to visit but have always dreamed of…

I would really like to go to Japan.  I keep thinking we will get there to perform but I am ready to go just as a tourist.  

The three things or thoughts that are getting me through this pandemic…
Knowing that it is not going to last forever and that many generations before us have all gone through great difficulties and challenges and made it through it. The most important thing is friends and family and connecting with them during this is essential. Lastly, I realize more than ever that I need music. I had safe, social distanced recording sessions at my studio recently and it has really made me feel more like myself.


For more on Scott Bomar and The Bo-Keys head to thebokeys.com. And for more info on the Memphis spots he mentioned head to memphistravel.com.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.