Rockin' Roots Revisited Panelists

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Friday, 21 September 2012 09:24

Click on a panelist's name to jump to his biography.

Photo of David Blackmon

David Blackmon is well-known fiddle and mandolin player whose roots are firmly planted in traditional and bluegrass music. In the 80s, he toured and recorded with country music legend Jerry Reed. He is founding member of Blueground Undergrass, a veteran of the Normaltown Flyers and has shared the stage with the likes of Vassar Clements, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas. Having toured and recorded extensively with Widespread Panic, David is considered by many to be a pioneer in fusing bluegrass with blues, jazz and rock.

Photo of John Straw

John Straw has played bass in many bands over the years. He got his start in in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he befriended the great Jaco Pastorius - who has been touted "the world's greatest bass player," and who Pat Metheny quotes as being "the last jazz musician of the 20th century to have made a major impact on the musical world at large."

From the 70s through the 90s he played with Acme Blues Band, T Graham Brown (who has charted more than twenty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts), The Blusicians, The Mannish Boys, and The Healers. Recently, he has played with The Casanovas. He now plays with The Georgia Healers.

Photo of Brian Burke

Brian Burke is a founding member and leader of The Normaltown Flyers. Playing their "Pickup Truck Rock and Roll" the Flyers recorded two CDs for Mercury Records out of Nashville in the 90s. Brian was a staff songwriter for Millhouse Music, a company run by legendary Nashville producer Harold Shedd. Today he plays occasional dates with the Flyers and is still writing the occasional song.

Photo of Dodd Ferrelle

Dodd Ferrelle's musical career began 20 years ago in Savannah, Georgia as a part of the band Me'an Mills. After moving to Atlanta, the band split up, and Ferrelle joined with future Drive By Trucker John Neff to start Rags. John Keane joined them in the studio to produce a fine roots rock CD that laid the foundation for Dodd's next album, A Carriage on the Hill. Carriage was the first of Dodd's works to be produced by David Barbe, who has been at the controls for every Dodd CD since then.

The newest of Dodd's albums, Hide the World, was released in 2011 and continues the sonic exploration beyond the roots rock territory he is commonly associated with.

Photo of Donny Whitehead

Donny Whitehead has a long musical career that began in high school while performing with the band The Majestics. He subsequently played with sundry musical groups, including Al Hartley and the Heartbeats, The Embers, The Judge and Jury, and The Jesters Band, with whom he played alongside artists such as The Platters, Jerry Buter, The Marvelletes, Patti Lebelle and the Blue Bells, and Jackie Wilson.

His greatest influences in music have been is mom and dad, his wife of 43 years, his children, and all of his family and friends who have supported him throughout his musical journey. The Stax and Motown recording artists have also been major influences, as well as his favorite saxophonist, King Curtis. He is still performing with The Jesters Band, The Grain of Sand Band, The Big Daddys Band and a small ensemble named 5X5.

Kemp Jones - Kemp Jones plays keyboard and rhythm guitar and was the founding member of the band Silent Partner which toured up and down the East coast in the 60's and 70's. He also played with the Sunny Side Up band and the Michael Guthrie Band. He wrote a song that he turned into a children's book "F.O.L.L.O.W." with music which is included on a CD with the book. The book is available for purchase at the Lyndon House Arts Center.