For years I wondered how to contact my banjo hero, Lee Sexton. I’d ask around but no one had a clue. He was like my Elvis Presley—an icon—so it took forever for it to occur to me: “What if he’s just in the phone book?” Sure enough, 411 connected me right through to his booming voice, “Yello?!” Nervously, I asked if I could meet him for a lesson and he said, “Come on down!” He gave me directions to Line Fork and couldn’t have been more warm and funny. I went to the Campbell’s Branch school a few times over the years and filmed snippets of Mr. Lee’s 2-finger style of banjo. Then I’d go home and play them on repeat to learn. He was just wonderful, and the very last of his kind. And I don’t mean the “picking” kind, but the Happy kind. The unpretentious kind once found easily in phonebooks. He played old time banjo music that still served the souls of a small community; yet it was a musical genre that had become puritanical in the festivals, weaponized in the cities and—to this day—still teeters on the edge of cancellation. Lee Sexton, however, towered above it all...bulletproof to such issues. There was just something about his good-hearted, raw confidence that made everybody relax and smile. So, Rest In Peace, the joyous, welcoming soul of Mr. Lee Sexton. You will be forever irreplaceable.
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Playing Style: Other
Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time
Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time
Genre: Unknown/None Chosen
Playing Style: Unknown/None Chosen
Playing Since: 2005
Experience Level: Purty Good
[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]
Harmonica, piano, bass, double bass, jaw harp, banjo.
Banjos: Eastman White Ladye, George brand A-scale, Stanley Hicks-style homemade banjo, Gold Tone composite.
Dock Boggs, Roscoe Holcomb, George Pegram, Morgan and Lee Sexton, Troxell Brothers, Obray Ramsey,Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dex Romweber, 16 Horsepower, Kaizer's Orchestra.
Classified Rating: not rated
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Visible to: Public
Last Visit 5/4/2021
Joshua "J. D." Wilkes (born April 18, 1972, Baytown, Texas and now a resident of Paducah, Kentucky) is an American visual artist, musician, and amateur filmmaker. Wilkes is a Kentucky Colonel, an honorable title bestowed upon those with a connection to, or are famous residents of Kentucky, by the state's Governor. He is also an accomplished harmonica player, having recorded for such artists as Merle Haggard, John Carter Cash, Mike Patton, and Hank Williams III. He can also be spotted playing harmonica for Hank Williams III in the 2004 American Masters film Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues. His song "Swampblood" can be heard on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for HBO's True Blood series. BIOGRAPHY Wilkes is known as the founder and only remaining original member of the Legendary Shack Shakers, formed in Murray, Kentucky (and later relocated to Nashville, TN) in the mid ‘90s. The band rose to prominence when their “C.B. Song” was featured in a long-running Geico commercial. After signing with Bloodshot Records, the band toured nationally and internationally with acts like The Black Keys and Robert Plant. Wilkes' contributions to visual art include many sideshow banners and comic strips. His "Head Cheese" strip was seen in the Nashville RAGE (Metromix) weekly from 2005-2008. Other works by Wilkes have been seen in Juxtapoz, Snicker, U. Magazine, ALARM Magazine, Twisted South and TopShelfComix.com. Wilkes illustrated the book Spookiest Stories Ever for the University Press of Kentucky, released in 2010. In 2011 he released Grim Hymns, a comic hymnal/graphic novel featuring some of his work for TopShelf. In 2013, he completed work on another comic book that accompanies Shooter Jennings’ album The Other Life. Wilkes holds a Bachelor's degree in Studio Art from Kentucky's Murray State University and A.A. from Paducah Community College (now WKCTC). In 2006, Wilkes, along with Blake Judd, Todd Tue, and Jacob Ennis, began work on a documentary film titled Seven Signs that explored "music, myth, and the American South." The film premiered on December 30, 2007, at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee. After winning “Best Featurette” and “Best Documentary” awards, the film screened at London’s prestigious Raindance Film Festival. Seven Signs also traveled to the Cannes Film Festival where it was presented in the official catalog. Eventually tiring of the perils of playing punk rock tours, Wilkes formed The Dirt Daubers, an old-time, roots-influenced side project with his wife, Jessica, (featuring "Slow" Layne Hendrickson or Mark Robertson on bass). In 2012, the band expanded their sound to incorporate more rockabilly and blues material. The Dirt Daubers’ self-titled debut was released in October 2009. DISCOGRAPHY J.D.'s Tasteless Chill Tonic, Legendary Shack Shakers, (1996) "Go Hog Wild" b/w "She's Gone Haywire" 45, Legendary Shack Shakers (1997, Misprint/Conan Records) Hunkerdown With Those Legendary Shack Shakers, Legendary Shack Shakers, (1998, Spinout) Cockadoodledon't, Legendary Shack Shakers, (2003, Bloodshot) Believe, Legendary Shack Shakers, (2004, YepRoc) Pandelirium, Legendary Shack Shakers, (2006, YepRoc) "No Such Thing" b/w "Born Again Again" 45, Legendary Shack Shakers (2006, YepRoc Records) Lower Broad Lo-Fi, Legendary Shack Shakers (2006, Arkam/BlackOwl Radio) Swampblood, Legendary Shack Shakers, (2007, YepRoc) The Dirt Daubers, The Dirt Daubers (2009, Arkam/Black Owl Radio) AgriDustrial, Legendary Shack Shakers (2010, 30 Tigers) Wake Up, Sinners, The Dirt Daubers (2011, Colonel Knowledge Records/30 Tigers) Kitchen Tapes, JD Wilkes (2012, Arkam/Black Owl Radio) Wild Moon, The Dirt Daubers (2013, Plowboy Records) Dump Road EP, Legendary Shack Shakers (2014, Arkam) FILMOGRAPHY Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues (2004) Seven Signs (2007) The Real Me, video for Shooter Jennings (2012) Tore Down, video for Wanda Jackson (2012) CRITICAL ACCLAIM "Great stuff! (JD) is my favorite right this second. JD is a real old-Kentucky banjo player and he can take that to the bank! I gotta watch out next time I see his banjo."–Dom Flemons, Carolina Chocolate Drops “(Wilkes writes) mind-blowing lyrics rife with Biblical references and ruminations of life, death, sin and redemption." –BILLBOARD “(Wilkes) is the closest thing there is to the Ambassador of Genuine Traditional Southern Culture.” -ALARM Magazine “JD’s art and music convey the dark and twisted underbelly of a country steeped in contradictions.” –JUXTAPOZ “(Wilkes’ Swampblood is) one of the strangest and thoroughly drawn concept albums of recent times. -AMERICAN SONGWRITER “What a great soundtrack...!” –author Stephen King (about JD’s material on the album Cockadoodledon’t) “Dignified and disarming…” –Bill Friskics Warren, THE TENNESSEEAN (Regarding Seven Signs) INSTRUMENTS Vocals, Harmonica, Banjo LABELS YepRoc, Bloodshot, Colonel Knowledge, Arkam, 30 Tigers ASSOCIATED ACTS Legendary Shack Shakers The Dirt Daubers Reverend Horton Heat Hank Williams III Th Dixiecrats
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