Songwriter, author and recording artist Les Kerr will perform an acoustic concert and sign copies of his new book, Tennessee, Friday, December 3, 2004 at Hal & Mal's, 200 South Commerce Street, Jackson, beginning at 8:00 p.m. The show is part of Kerr's "Crawfish Caravan Tour" which has included performances in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and other cities.
A native of Mississippi, Kerr grew up in Jackson and Pascagoula and has lived in Nashville since 1987. He has recorded four CDs, including Christmas on the Coast, released in 2002. As an author, he co-authored The All-American Truck Stop Cookbook (Rutledge Hill Press/Thomas Nelson 2002). Tennessee was published by Graphic Arts Center Publishing this fall and contains photos by award-winning photographer George Humphries and Kerr's words.
The photos and text of the book paint a picture of Tennessee from Memphis to the Great Smoky Mountains. In the section on Nashville, he begins by recounting his first visit to the city in the 1973 which included seeing the Grand Ole Opry in its last twelve months at the Ryman Auditorium. At seventeen years of age, the author and a friend from Pascagoula High School journeyed to Nashville to watch Opry greats Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter, Minnie Pearl and other legends.
Kerr also interviewed native Nashvillians Johnny Terrell and Brent Stoker about their experiences growing up in Nashville. Terrell is a blues bass player, now in his eighties, who still performs. In the book, he reminisces about growing up on Jefferson Street and playing the storied neighborhood during its R&B heyday. During those years, Jimi Hendrix was also a regular on the street just after his U.S. Army discharge at nearby Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Terrell remembers playing with the future rock and roll superstar in the book.
With a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Ole Miss, Kerr is the former news director of radio stations in Pascagoula, Hattiesburg, Gulfport and Mobile, Alabama. He continues to contribute to magazines, newspapers, as well as books. His articles have appeared in recent editions of Tennessee Trucking News and Vanderbilt Lawyer magazines and in The Tennessean, Nashville's daily newspaper.
As a songwriter, Kerr performs frequently in Nashville and other cities. "Hillbilly Blues Caribbean Rock & Roll" is the term the songwriter uses to describe his music because of all of his influences. Among his musical influences were rockabilly artists, blues singers and country performers. In his new book, he writes about the blues on Beale Street in Memphis, the Rockabilly Festival in Jackson, TN and the impact of the original recordings of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family in Bristol.
More information about Kerr's music, books and career is available online at www.leskerr.com