The third annual Sleepy John’s Country Blues Jam will be held Saturday, January 23, from 10 AM – 5 PM, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn. The free event recognizes the birthday and legacy of Blues pioneer “Sleepy” John Adam Estes and is presented in partnership with the West Tennessee Blues Society. Skills clinics, a symposium and an acoustic jam session are all part of the day’s activities
Guitarist Elam McKnight and harmonica player Jimmy D. Taylor share their knowledge and skills during 10 AM clinics in their respective fields. McKnight is well known in the blues, rock and country genres, and has released five studio albums. He will instruct on the basics of the Country Blues style of playing. The clinic is appropriate for beginners as well as advanced players looking to hone their skills. Instruction will include open tuning, chord shapes and slides.
Taylor, a Brownsville native, has been playing harmonica since 1991, and now builds and sells them worldwide. This clinic will be an introductory level session and participants are asked to bring their own harmonica in the key of C. Topics covered will be single note playing, single note riffs and bends, hand cupping and more.
Participants are required to bring their own instruments and encouraged to pre-register online at westtnheritage.com or by calling the Center at 731-779-9000.
Following the clinics, BBQ concessions will be on site offering lunch selections and attendees will enjoy birthday cake recognizing what would have been Sleepy John’s 117th birthday.
A symposium will begin at 1 PM, entitled “Retrospect and Recollections.” This program will take a look back at many of the Blues pioneers such as Estes, Hammie Nixon, Furry Lewis, B.B. King and others who had such influence on the genre. A panel of present day Blues artists, who studied or played with some of these musicians, will discuss their memories of the men and their impact on the industry. The informal session will include opportunity for audience participation.
An open acoustic jam session will follow at 2:30 PM. Participants are asked to bring their own instruments, voice or just your love for the music. This jam session is non-competitive and open to everyone. Throughout the day, participants can tour the Delta Heritage Center and grounds including the last home of Estes and Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner housing the world renowned Tina Turner Museum.
About the Center
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner and home of the world renowned Tina Turner Museum, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
About the West Tennessee Blues Society
The West Tennessee Blues Society works to preserve the “West Tennessee Blues” by educating the public on the influences and traditions of our Blues heritage while promoting live Blues performances of regional artists and introducing new generations to the genre we know as West Tennessee’s Country Blues. Contact the Blues society by emaili