Q&A with Damion Pearson of Memphissippi Sounds, an incredibly talented DEEP BLUES duo with custom blend sound

"I want to authentically share experiences and those of the community around me, and I hope it's well received, or at least heard and respected."

Memphissippi Sounds: Roots Keepers

A custom blend of North Mississippi hill country blues, Memphis blues and soul, rock, pop, and hip-hop = MEMPHISSIPI SOUNDS. One fated summer night in 2017 the paths of two uniquely gifted and talented Memphis musicians aligned in a club on Beale Street. Cameron Kimbrough, grandson of Junior Kimbrough and native of the famed Mississippi hill country, brought his raw, stripped-down rhythms from the fresh, open air of Potts Camp, MS, to the crowded room. As the audience took in Kimbrough’s beats from the drums, they were blessed by the powerful and mesmerizing voice of Damion “Yella P” Pearson’s harmonica. Kimbrough had grown up hearing the blues from his grandfather’s juke joint, and later taught himself to play. Yella P. was also self-taught on the harmonica, first picking it up at age 13 and honing his style while listening to the blues on Beale Street. An instant connection growing from their chance encounter, they teamed up to form Memphissippi Sounds and immediately began creating a new sound.

(Photo: Memphissippi Sounds - Cameron Kimbrough & Damion “Yella P” Pearson)

Their custom blend of North Mississippi hill country blues, Memphis blues and soul, rock, pop, and hip-hop was debuted at the New Daisy while opening up for guitar legend Eric Gales. In the past year, they’ve taken the Memphissippi Sound on the road to places such as Thacker Mountain Radio Hour in Oxford, Clarksdale’s Juke Joint Festival, and Little Rock’s Whitewater Tavern backing up Grammy-nominated local bluesman R.L. Boyce. Memphissippi Sounds has made local appearances at such venues as the Levitt Shell, Radio Memphis, and the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Between gigs, they enjoy doing some old-school busking on South Main, a throwback to the heyday of Memphis music. Memphissippi Sounds’ “Welcome To The Land” album will release at Little Village on October 15, 2021. Hypnotic deep boogie blues from the North Mississippi Hill Country to Memphis!

Interview by Michael Limnios         Special Thanks: Kevin Johnson (Proud Papa PR)

How has the Afro-American music and culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Yella P. - That's like asking a fish how water has influenced its journey. There are certain experiences, stories told, that I take with me, all of my music is an expression of the community I come from and a patchwork of places. Like my grandmother's quilt, it all comes together to make a cumulative whole.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? How started the thought of Memphissippi Sounds?

Yella P. - Rooted in tradition, keepers of the culture, innovators of the sound.

Our music is based off tradition, but also the times we’re in right now, if muddy waters was alive today, he might have a 808 (drum machine) or be a rapper, if Howlin wolf was alive today he'd be into lo-fi, so I keep that in mind with the sound, I’m not afraid to mix acoustic and electronic or whatever gets the point across. If it sounds good, its good, if they like it, they like it. Our songbook is eclectic with a range of styles from blues, rock and roll, hip hop, r & b, good music. I was playing a pickup gig on Beale St and Cam was the drummer. We ended up playing together a few times and people started asking our name, so we made one.                        (Photo: Cameron Kimbrough & Damion “Yella P” Pearson)

"That's like asking a fish how water has influenced its journey. There are certain experiences, stories told, that I take with me, all of my music is an expression of the community I come from and a patchwork of places. Like my grandmother's quilt, it all comes together to make a cumulative whole."

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Yella P. - Meeting the Alt rock band LīVE was a great experience and being invited on tour. Meeting and recording with Kirk Whalum was a great experience a hometown hero. Don't stop, be yourself, make the music you wanna make, find your sound, make your music.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Yella P. - Our first official gig together we opening up for Eric Gales at the New Daisy on Beale, that was a cool experience. Bobby Rush spoke to us after we played at the IBC in 2020, we'd made it to the semi-finals, he came back with some good feedback. She-Wolf Jones had a hill country yard party, Cedric Burnside, Mr. Joe Ayers, RL Boyce playing.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Yella P. - I don't really miss the blues of the past, I listen and love it still. My hopes are that Memphissippi Sounds are well received and is able to share our music for years to come

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Yella P. - Get your money, dance like no one's lookin, I learned a lot by observing people on Beale St, just watching the flow and energy of the street.

What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

Yella P. - I want to authentically share experiences and those of the community around me, and I hope it's well received, or at least heard and respected.

Little Village Foundation - Memphissippi Sounds

(Photo: Memphissippi Sounds - Cameron Kimbrough & Damion “Yella P” Pearson)

Views: 154

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2021   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service