Sleepy John's Country Blues Jam Logo

Saturday, January 28, 2017
1 - 10 p.m.

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

BBQ concessions onsite | Free Birthday Cake



1 - 5 p.m.: Special Exhibition

West Tennessee Museum of Southern Hoodoo History

Memphis hoodooWest Tennessee Museum of Southern Hoodoo History, a traveling exhibition that consists of artifacts from Africa, a collection of roots & herbs used in traditional hoodoo, artifacts from early Memphis hoodoo product manufacturers and photographs of significant people and places in West Tennessee related to hoodoo.

The exhibition will be on display from 1-5 p.m., during Sleepy John's Country Blues Jam. Tony Kail, founder and curator, will be on site to explain the meaning and share the history of the items and artifacts on display.

1 p.m.: Harmonica Clinic
Instructor: JD 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.  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.    

2 p.m.: Slide Guitar Clinic
Instructor: Tyler Goodson

A basic introduction to two tunings (open G and open D) favored by legendary slide players of the past and 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.


About Tyler Goodson
A Jackson, Tenn., native, Tyler has been playing guitar pretty much all his life. He started gigging at local bars at the age of 21 and has played with most of the local and regional musicians. He has played House of Blues in Orlando Florida and has been a regular performer at Silky O'Sullivans on Beale among other venues.

3-5 p.m.:
Writing about the Blues

This symposium takes a look at a variety of Blues musicians, their lifestyles and the impact they had on the music. A panel discussion with the authors who have researched and written their stories followed by a book signing.

James E. Cherry
Bending the Blues
Edge of the Wind

Music serves as inspiration for much of the poetry in Cherry's first book Bending the Blues, words from a sensitive young man who reflects upon events from childhood, family, and day-to-day living. His latest novel, Edge of the Wind, features a character who wants to be a blues musician and takes you through familiar Southwest Tennessee surroundings.

James E Cherry is the author of six books: a poetry chapbook, two full collections of poetry and two novels. His latest novel, Edge of the Wind, was published in 2016 from Stephen F Austin State University Press. He has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, a Lillian Smith Book Award and a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Fiction. His work has been published nationally as well as in Nigeria, Canada, France, and China. Cherry has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and resides in Tennessee with his wife, Tammy.

Dr. David Evans
Tommy Johnson
Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in Folk Blues
Ramblin' on My Mind: New Perspectives on the Blues

Evans is a specialist in American folk and popular music, particularly blues, spirituals, gospel, and African-American folk music. He is the author of several books about the Blues, and has written many articles in academic journals, chapters in books, reviews, and dictionary and encyclopedia entries.

Evans has also produced over thirty albums and compact discs of field and studio recordings of music for the University of Memphis' High Water Records. In 2003 he won a Grammy® award for “Best Album Notes." He performs blues music and has made many concert appearances as a soloist (with guitar) and accompanist in the United States, Europe, and South America, and in the Mid-South region with the Last Chance Jug Band.

Dr. Mitsutoshi Inaba
John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson: The Blues Harmonica of Chicago's Bronzeville

Williamson, who was born in Madison County and is buried here, is credited as one of the most popular blues harmonica players and singers from the late 1930s through the 1940s. Inaba’s book takes readers through Sonny Boy's career and includes interviews with his family members and his last harmonica student, providing new insights into the character of the man as well as the techniques of the musician. 

Dr. Inaba holds a doctorate in musicology and ethnomusicology from the University of Oregon. He currently teaches courses on African American studies with a focus on music at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is also the author of Willie Dixon: Preacher of the Blues (2011).

Tony Kail
A Secret History of Memphis Hoodoo: Rootworkers, Conjurers & Spirituals

Most of us know Memphis as the home of the blues, the place where rock-and-roll was born and the barbecue capital of the world, but Memphis has a secret history that once made it famous. The city was once home to a world of rootworkers, conjurers and spiritual healers. Kail's book ttakes readers on a journey from the earliest evidence of rootworkers in Shelby County to the backrooms of curio shops where spiritual doctors laid tricks and healed the sick. 

Tony Kail is a cultural anthropologist, ethnographer and writer. Kail holds a degree in cultural anthropology and has been involved in research of religious cultures for more than twenty-five years. His work has taken him from Voodoo ceremonies in New Orleans to Haitian Botanicas in Harlem and Spirit churches in East Africa. He is also a cultural consultant for local, state and federal medical and public safety agencies on issues related to cultural diversity, religious culture and transcultural communication.

5-6:30 p.m.: Acoustic Blues Jam
Hosted by the West Tennessee Blues Society

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 ...

6:30 10 p.m.: Blues Concert

6:30: Theo "Boogieman" Dasbach
7:30: Linzie Butler and the Blues Gentlemen
9:00: Chris Kramer Beat Box 'n Blues

WTDHC welcomes Chris Kramer Beat Box 'n Blues

Chris Kramer Beat Box 'n Blues

Chris Kramer is a German blues musician, gifted blues harp player and singer/songwriter from Dortmund, Germany. As a three times winner of the “German Blues Award” (category blues harp 2010, 2012, 2014), his slick harp playing is considered his trademark although Chris also plays guitar and dobro on stage. Chris Kramer’s vinyl record “Chicago Blues” was also honored “best album” with the “German Blues Award 2014”.

Born in 1970, his first blues harp lessons were taught by his father, leading through the years to a solid career as a professional musician. Chris Kramer played in several bands, but also performed as a solo artist constantly.

Nowadays he is regarded as one of the most important blues harp players in Europe, gaining recognition by his boyhood idols like Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (both of Muddy Waters Band), who recorded with him. The complete list of artists who joined Chris Kramer in the recording studio appears like a “who-is-who” of rock history: Long John Baldry, Bob Stroger, Jack Bruce, Mel Gaynor (Simple Minds), Colin Hodgkinson, Pete York and many others. He assembled Mick Taylor and Chuck Leavell, both “Rolling Stones” in different periods, for the first time on his 2009 album “Unterwegs” (transl. “on the road”), and piano player Chuck Leavell said about Chris, “Oh man, what an amazing harp player!”. “Cream” bass player Jack Bruce called him “Master of the blues harp”. German superstar Peter Maffay (considered as the “german Bruce Springsteen”) booked him for studio jobs and huge stadium tours several times.

Caring for the encouragement of young talents, Chris wrote four educational books about learning blues harp. He is also successful as a harp teacher with tutorial workshops all over Germany. His latest project to promote handmade music is a musical for children and families called “The little harmonica”, trying to awake children’s enthusiasm for the blues and its following musical styles. The story of “The little harmonica” is also published as an audiobook and an 86-pages-storybook, teaching not only about music but also about tolerance, respect and human co-existence.

As an expert for blues music, Chris Kramer is asked and booked by german major TV stations, for example like WDR for a complete one-hour-show called “Planet Wissen” to talk about the blues and his journey to America on his quest for the roots of the blues.

Chris Kramer’s latest project to create a connection between the blues and younger generations is a crossover trio called “Beatbox ‘n’ Blues”. With a beatbox borrowed from hip hop instead of a drumset and performed by german beatbox champion Kevin O Neal, Kramer invented a fresh new sound with his blues harp and the guitar of the young talented string artist Sean Athens. The dedication and innovation of performance of the three artists led to the winning of the “2016 German Blues Challenge” in Eutin (Northern Germany) and the right to participate at the “2017 International Blues Challenge” at Beale Street, Memphis/Tennessee, USA.

Presented by

Precision Coils

West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
For complete information about visiting Tennessee, click here.


Sleepy John's Country Blues Jam Registration

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