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Memphis Drummers Compete at Guitar Center

Each year, the national Guitar Center chain sponsors a nationwide drum-off, searching for presumably the best drummer in the country. The winner wins cash, a lot of new drum equipment, and a considerable amount of fame and probably endorsements as well. With its legacy of soul, funk and gospel music, the city of Memphis has consistently produced some of the best drummers in the country. On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, several young Memphis drummers competed in the preliminary rounds of the local competition, seeking the right to represent Memphis at the Southeast regionals. I was particularly impressed with both Jonathan Chaffen and Desmond Harris this year, and enjoyed the competition even more since the rules were changed to ban octapads, triggers and loops, which had become intrusive in recent years. This year, drummers had to show their skill on the traditional acoustic drum set alone, and Memphis drummers definitely rose to the occasion.

Hattiesburg Musician Wes Lee Live at #JukeJointFest2014

Hattiesburg blues musician Wes Lee has a following in the Southern part of Mississippi, but this was my first time encountering him at Juke Joint Festival. He played a version of the traditional spiritual “John The Revelator” AKA “The Book of the Seven Seals” , which caught my attention because I had just heard a quartet version of it on Spotify a few days before.