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Les Kerr


Les blends musical influences to create his signature "Hillbilly Blues Caribbean Rock & Roll."
          Les Kerr is a songwriter, recording artist and performer who brings blues, Rockabilly, New Orleans music, Zydeco, and bluegrass together to create his “Hillbilly Blues Caribbean Rock & Roll.” Now based in Nashville, Kerr was born in Louisiana and raised in Mississippi in the Gulf Coast city of Pascagoula and in Jackson.

In Concert
          Kerr’s concert highlights include headlining annual Mardi Gras celebrations at  Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe since 1992. He headlines at the legendary songwriter venue periodically throughout the year and has also performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival and at Nashville’s official Independence Day celebration.  Other venues include the Country Music Marathon (Nashville), Franklin (TN) Jazz Festival, Huntsville, Alabama’s Panoply Festival and Jackson, Tennessee’s Rockabilly Fest. 
          Regional concert performance venues for the singer have included shows at Eddie’s Attic (Decatur, GA), Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Knoxville (TN) Dogwood Festival, Southern Festival of Books (Nashville and Memphis) and the Country Music Marathon (Nashville).
          New Orleans and Gulf Coast concert venues for the songwriter/performer over the years have included the Maple Leaf Bar, Carrollton Station and Louisiana Music Factory in New Orleans; LuLu’s at Homeport Marina, Bluegill Restaurant, Tacky Jack’s Tavern and the Flora Bama Lounge on the Alabama Gulf Coast.


Photo: Alan Whitman
Recordings
          The performing songwriter’s six CDs are New Orleans Set, Crawfish Caravan, Christmas on the Coast, Red Blues, Southern Sound Sessions and Below the Level of the Sea.  Red Blues was nominated for CD of the Year by the Music City Blues Society.  In addition, Kerr has been nominated for the society’s Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year awards.
          Christmas on the Coast included vocal backing by The Jordanaires, famous for their work with Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, and now members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The noted quartet performed on the title song, which Kerr wrote about Christmas in his Gulf Coast hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and on three other selections of the ten-song CD.

Songwriting
          As a songwriter, Kerr has achieved notoriety and success. His original Mackinac Blues was included in NPR’s All Songs Considered.  With co-writer Bryan Cumming, he has written songs officially adopted as theme songs for the City of Cookeville, Tennessee and for the University of Mississippi’s $200 Million “MomentUM” campaign. The Cookeville song Highlands of Tennessee was recorded by the award-winning bluegrass band, The Cluster Pluckers.  For the Love of Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi project, was introduced by the Count Basie Orchestra and recorded by vocalist and actress Mary Donnelly Haskell.
          The lyrics to Kerr’s originals New Orleans in the Spring and Below the Level of the Sea were included in the New Orleans poetry anthology Maple Leaf Rag IV . The lyrics to the latter song have been incorporated into a piece of artwork scheduled to go on public display in New Orleans in 2012.
          In 2011, he was an invited performer at the 2nd Annual Mississippi Songwriters Festival in Ocean Springs.  Also in 2011, Voice Mail, co-written with Jim Sparks, was recorded by California-based folk duo Howard and Debra Farris.  The song has also been recorded by Cayman-Islands-based World Music artist Barefoot Man and released on his Three Coconuts CD.

Radio & TV
          Kerr was featured in Civil War Songs and Stories, a 2011 TV documentary aired on Nashville Public Television and scheduled to be offered to PBS stations nationwide in 2012.  Other performers in the program included Crystal Gayle, William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, Maura O’Connell, Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.  The song Kerr performed, Jordan is A Hard Road to Travel, is also included in a CD/DVD package of music from the show.
          Other TV appearances have included on air musical performances on WHBQ TV (Memphis), WKRN TV (Nashville), FOX17’s Tennessee Mornings (Nashville), WSMV TV (Nashville), WTVA TV (Tupelo, MS), WALA TV (Mobile, AL) and other television stations.
          Radio appearances have included WDVX FM’s Blue Plate Special (Knoxville, TN), in-studio performances on WWOZ FM’s Swing Session (New Orleans), WAMB AM/FM (Nashville),  Radio Free Nashville and other radio stations.

In Print
          Also a journalist and author, Kerr co-authored The All-American Truck Stop Cookbook and frequently writes for magazines and newspapers.  Tennessee features Kerr’s words and photos by George Humphries.  He also contributed to The Bluebird Cafe Scrapbook , Moments with Eugene and Mobile: Sunbelt Center of Opportunity.
          His review of the book How Nashville Became Music City U.S.A. appeared in the nationally recognized music magazine PASTE and he continues to contribute to other magazines and newspapers. More information about Les Kerr is available online at www.leskerr.com.

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© Les Kerr 2007-2014