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What's New: Jelly Roll Johnson Interview

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Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson's distinctive, soulful style of harmonica has earned him critical acclaim, numerous awards, and a place among Nashville's top session musicians. A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jelly Roll's career has spanned 35 years. He began playing harmonica at age 19 in Cleveland, Tennessee. After touring with several rock, blues and country groups, he settled in Knoxville to work with the Tommy Cole Band. From 1979 to 1989, Jelly Roll played concerts and club dates all across America with Warner Brothers recording artist Con Hunley. The group opened for acts such as Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris.

Since moving to Nashville in 1984, he has recorded with Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Rogers, Etta James, Guy Clark, Lee Ann Womack, Travis Tritt, Shania Twain, The Judds, Alan Jackson and many others. His unique sound has been heard on over 50 gold and platinum albums, including three Grammy winning albums by Randy Travis.

Jelly Roll has made numerous television appearances with various artists, including Faith Hill on "Late Show with David Letterman," Alan Jackson and Jamie O'Neal on "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Trisha Yearwood and the Judds on the "Country Music Association Awards Show," and Con Hunley on "Austin City Limits" and "Soundstage."
In 1998, Jelly Roll won the Nashville Music Award for Best Wind Instrumentalist. After receiving nominations for 1998 and 2000, he won the best Specialty Instrument Award for 2003 and 2008 from the Academy of Country Music.

Jelly regularly performs at Nashville's world-famous Bluebird Cafe with hit songwriters Fred Knobloch, Thom Schuyler, Tony Arata and Don Schlitz.

Artist Recordings: Alabama, Pat Alger, Gary Allan, Bill Anderson, Anointed, Tony Arata, Suzy Bogguss, Bonepony, Bob Carlisle, Kim Carnes, Peter Cetera, Kenny Chesney, Mark Chesnutt, Mark Collie, Guy Clark, Jessi Colter, Ronny Cox, Lacy J. Dalton, Billy Dean, Kevin Denney, Dean Dillon, Nokie Edwards, Michael English, Skip Ewing, George Fox, Jeff Foxworthy, Gaither Vocal Band, Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Bob Gibson, Vern Gosdin (Duet w/ Randy Travis), Josh Gracin, Nanci Griffith, Jennifer Hanson, Wade Hayes, Eric Heatherly, Bertie Higgins, Malcolm, Holcombe, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Con Hunley, Sylvia Hutton, Randall Hylton, Alan Jackson, Etta James, Jamey Johnson, Michael Johnson, George Jones, The Judds, Sammy Kershaw, Hal Ketchum, B. B. King (Duet w/ Randy Travis), The Katinas, Jorma Kaukonen, Sean Keane, Fred Knobloch, Al Kooper, Alison Krauss, McGuffey Lane
Lonestar, Kathy Mattea, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Pat McLaughlin, Jo Dee Messina, Victor Mecyssne
Buddy Mondlock, John Michael Montgomery, Craig Morgan, Nicole C. Mullen, Joe Nichols, The O'Kanes, Jake Owen, Tom Paxton, Suzi Ragsdale, Kenny Rogers, Jim Rooney, Tom Rush, Darrell Scott, Dan Seals, T. G. Sheppard
Sierra, Charles Sizemore, Skid Row, Red Steagall, Doug Stone, Marty Stuart, Barry & Holly Tashian, Verlon Thompson, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Josh Turner, Shania Twain, Phil Vassar, Bobby Vinton, Susan Werner, Don Williams, Hank Williams, Jr., Jack Williams, Trent Willmon, Lee Ann Womack, Darryl Worley, Trisha Yearwood and Steve Young.

This interview was conducted in Norfolk, Virginia in August of 2011. To learn more about Jelly Roll Johnson and his music visit:

Videos Include: Introduction & The Early Years; Recording & Performance; Essential Listening & Recording Experiences; Accompaniment Playing; Improvising; Use of Overbends; 1st Position Playing; 3rd Position Playing; Minor Playing; Chromatic Harmonica; Tongue Blocking; Bending; Music Theory; Jelly Roll's Equipment; Closing