Sleepy John's Country Blues Jam Logo

Saturday, January 24, 2015
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Celebrating the legacy of Blues Pioneer "Sleepy" John Adam Estes
and West Tennessee's Country Blues sound.



11 a.m.: Harmonica Clinic
led by Jimmy D. Taylor

This harmonica clinic will be an introduction level clinic in how to get started and or how to advance to a broader level of play.  Participants are urged to bring a key of C harmonica if they would like to participate during the clinic or just come and listen.  This will be a blues based approach. Some of the topics covered will be

  • Single note playing
  • Single note Bends
  • Single note riffs.
  • Use of Tongue Blocking
  • Putting Riffs together
  • Hand cupping 
  • Short demo of Overblows and overdraws
  • Why a custom harmonica vs a stock harmonica
  • Basics on the use of different positions such as 1st, 2nd and 3rd position
  • Question and answer session and open play


Jimmy D. TaylorAbout Jimmy D. Taylor
Jimmy D. Taylor grew up in Brownsville, Tennessee and received his first harmonica as a gift in 1991 at 30 years old.   Shortly after learning a few harp licks, he developed a passion for playing and started attending jams regularly and sitting in to play with other blues musicians on Beale Street.  After putting together a group in 1993 with his longtime guitar partner Steve Patterson, he has continued to play, tour and record on a consistent basis for the last 20 plus years.  JD has produced and recorded 3 albums with his IBC award winning group Little Boys Blue.  He has toured the country not only playing the blues with his band but also toured and recorded with major country artists from Nashville.  JD is currently working on his first solo project that will be harmonica driven and is set to release in mid spring 2015.   JD plays mostly Hohner harmonicas and does not endorse one specific brand to remain flexible in his choice of play.  His harmonica influences range from the post modern players such as Sonny Boy 1, Hammie Nixon and Little Walter to the more modern era players of today which include Charlie Musselwhite, John Popper, Jason Ricci and Rod Piazza.  JD also has a passion for building and customizing harmonicas and has built and sold over 200 custom harmonicas worldwide since 2010.    


11 a.m.: Slide Guitar Clinic
led by Elam McKnight

The Slide Guitar is a traditional instrumental style tracing its roots back through the rural corners of the Southeastern United States and most popularly associated with Country, Bluegrass, and Blues. The "bottleneck" style, favored by blues players has a long standing tradition in rural, country blues.

This clinic will be a very basic introduction to two tunings (open G and open D) favored by legendary slide players of the past and it basic positions (I, IV, V chordings). It will also present techniques and resource material which will be helpful to the beginner as well as the experienced player.

Please bring the following items with you: 

  1. Slide (s) of your choice. There will be discussion about the different slides and how each can do different things and what might be the best fit for each individual player
  2. The guitar you plan to play slide guitar on when practicing.
  3. A good tuner, if you have one.

You will also receive a handout of what is covered.


Elam McKnightAbout Elam McKnight
Elam McKnight is a singer/songwriter from West Tennessee. He is an artist firmly based in the roots of his region (Blues, Rock, and Country). McKnight’s solo debut, 2003’s Braid My Hair, was hailed by critics as a breath of fresh air in the sometimes-stale climate that is predictable “bar band” blues, while his second album, 2005’s The Last Country Store, found a spot on many blues charts internationally and in America. McKnight’s 2007’s Supa Good earned notoriety when the opening track, “Devil Minded Woman,” was voted by fans as the Best Blues Song in the Musician's Atlas sponsored 7th Annual Independent Music Awards.

In 2011 McKnight released Zombie Nation with Universal Music Group and his newest musical partner Bob Bogdal. The album featured the exceptional musicianship of Grammy award winning Tom Hambridge. Zombie Nation received immediate critical acclaim for its hell bent insistence and feet planted deeply in a blues groove all the while testing the genre's limits. The album topped many year end "best of " charts and received radio airplay worldwide.

McKnight is currently working on his 5th studio album on his own Big Black Hand imprint which will stretch out further and delve into a more rock vein and is preparing a Live release entitled Live from the Thief River from McKnight's recent live show opening for Jonny Lang at the 2013 Last Ride Blues Festival. McKnight has also put the finishing touches on his own studio, Magic Lantern Studios, which will allow him the flexibility to make more releases directly to his fan base and the world at large.

12 Noon
Lunch available; concessions onsite by BBQ Express

12:30 p.m.
Join us as we cut the birthday cake in honor of what would have been Sleepy John's 116th birthday

1 p.m.:
"The Influence of West Tennessee's Country Blues" Symposium

Panelist: Dr. David Evans & Michael Baker
This symposium will discuss the impact of the music and compare and contrast West Tennessee's unique sound. Following the discussion, attendees will be allowed to ask their questions of the expert panel.

David Evans:
Evans, a Grammy Award winner, author and Professor at the University of Memphis School of Music, has produced over 30 albums and numerous books on Blues history. He travels the world performing as a solo act and with the Last Chance Jug Band.

Michael Baker:
Baker’s lifelong interest in music and music history has made him an expert on the life and music of “Sonny Boy” Williamson and, after finding his grave, was instrumental in marking it with a headstone and establishing a historical marker at the site. He served as talent coordinator for the Shannon Street Blues Festival for 21 years.

2:30 - 5 p.m.: Acoustic Blues Jam

Bring your instruments, voice or just your love of the music. A non-competitive opportunity to Jam with professionals and amateurs alike. No pressure as you hone your skills and make new friends. It's a fun time for all. Everyone will have an opportunity to perform.

Pre-registration for the Jam Session is not required,
but you may do so by clicking here ...

Presented by

Iron B Land & Cattle logo__ West Tennessee Blues Society__West TN Delta Heritage Center


Sleepy John's Country Blues Jam Registration

First Name:
Last Name:
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Please sign me up for the following clinic:

Harmonica Slide Guitar (choose one)

Please check box to pre-register for the Jam Session

Please list the instrument(s) you will be playing: