The Keepers of the Flame

The Keepers of the Flame 2017-07-20T20:05:26+00:00


THE STAX MUSIC ACADEMY inspires young people and enhances their academic, cognitive, performance, and leadership skills by utilizing music with an intense focus on the rich legacy and tradition of Stax Records. The Academy aims to nurture and present the next generation of great Soul Communicators, equipping them to excel and to impact the world through the universal language of music.

Currently, The Stax Music Academy serves approximately a hundred high school and middle school students during its SNAP! After School program during the school year and approximately sixty high school students during its four-week SNAP! Summer Music Experience. The ensembles include Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section, StreetCorner Harmonies, Soulsville Jazz Ensemble, and Premier Percussionists.


NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS is an American southern rock/blues band from Hernando, Mississippi, founded in 1996. The band is composed of brothers Luther Dickinson (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, keyboards, electric washboard). The Dickinson brothers are the sons of legendary music producer Jim Dickinson.

North Mississippi Allstars’ first release, “Shake Hands With Shorty” (2000), was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Blues Album.” They earned two more Grammy nominations in the same category with “51 Phantom” (2001) and “Electric Blue Watermelon” (2005). The group also won a Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” in 2001.

In 2008, after five studio albums and more than a decade touring together, the Dickinsons decided to branch out and pursue other projects. Luther joined The Black Crowes as lead guitarist, and has appeared on their albums “Warpaint” (2008), “Before the Frost…Until the Freeze” (2009) and “Croweology” (2010). In 2009 Luther teamed up with Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus to form the South Memphis String Band. The trio has toured across the country and released two albums since then.

Cody also started a side project, Hill Country Revue, featuring Daniel Coburn, Kirk Smithhart, Doc Samba and Ed Cleveland. They are sometimes joined by Luther Dickinson and members of the Burnside family. They have released two albums, “Make A Move” (2009) and “Zebra Ranch” (2010).

In 2012, Luther formed The Wandering, a five-piece folk band featuring Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June and Sharde Thomas, and released their debut record “Go On Now, You Can’t Stay Here.” Luther also recorded and released a solo acoustic album, “Hambone’s Meditations,” which received a 2013 Grammy nomination for “Best Folk Album.”

Meanwhile, Cody contributed to several major motion picture soundtracks, including BARNYARD, SNOOP’S HOOD OF HORROR, and BLACK SNAKE MOAN. He had a recurring role on MTV’s “$5 Dollar Cover series” and appears in G.I. JOE 2: RETALIATION. As a producer Cody has worked with a wide range of musicians including Lucero, Cisco Adler, and Les Claypool. He also produced British blues guitarist Ian Siegal’s last two albums, “The Skinny” (2011) and “Candystore Kid” (2012), both of which were nominated for ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’ at the annual Blues Music Awards. Despite all his work as a producer, Cody continues to be one of the industry’s premier drummers, demonstrated by his 2013 Blues Music Awards nomination in the “Best Instrumentalist/Drums” category.

The brothers reunited in 2010 to record “Keys to the Kingdom” after the passing of their father, who had always told them, “You need to be playing music together. You are better together than you will ever be apart.”

Most recently, Luther and Cody have toured extensively with Robert Plant & The Band of Joy, headlined major festivals and toured internationally as a headliner and with Ian Siegal as part of The Mississippi Mudbloods. They also released two live bootleg records, “Live in the Hills” (2011) and “Live in the Hills Volume II” (2012), both recorded at the annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic in Potts Camp, Mississippi. The North Mississippi Allstars are at times joined by Lightnin’ Malcolm, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Chris Chew, and a host of other talented musicians.

In 2013, North Mississippi Allstars released “World Boogie Is Coming,” produced at their father’s Zebra Ranch in Hernando, Mississippi. The album marked a return to the band’s blues-infused rock & roll roots and pays homage to hill country legends and songwriters like RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, and features a wide spectrum of special guest artists.


THE CITY CHAMPS are a Memphis-based Soul/Jazz Organ Trio, the latest in a long of Memphis musicians to grab the mantle of funky, soul-jazz instrumentals pioneered by acts like Booker T. & the MGs, Willie Mitchell and The Bar-Kays.

The City Champs are comprised of three of Memphis’ top musicians: Guitarist Joe Restivo, organist Al Gamble and drummer George Sluppick. Their resumes include studio recordings and live dates with artists such as Rufus Thomas, Alex Chilton, JJ Grey, MOFRO, William Bell, Syl Johnson, and The Memphis Horns.

Their highly-praised albums, which feature many of Memphis’ top musicians, include “The Safecracker” (2009) and “The Setup” (2010)

Since the release of their first album, the group has toured the US with The North Mississippi Allstars and performed shows with bassist Robert Mecurio from Galactic. The group has also had their music prominently featured in the 2009 Emmy Award winning documentary, I AM A MAN: FROM MEMPHIS A LESSON IN LIVE (executive produced by Deanie Parker) and the MTV series, “$5 Cover.”


ERIC GALES (aka Raw Dog) is a Memphis blues-rock guitarist, originally hailed as a child prodigy. He first picked up the guitar at four, and his older brothers taught him licks by Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and others. His first album, “The Eric Gales Band” (1991), which he recorded for Elektra at age sixteen, received worldwide acclaim and was named “Best New Talent” by Guitar World’s Readers’ Poll.

His other albums include “Picture of a Thousand Faces” (1993), “The Gales Brothers: Left Hand Brand” (1996), “That’s What I Am” (2001), “Crystal Vision” (2006), “The Psychedelic Underground” (2007), “The Story of My Life” (2008), “Layin’ Down the Blues” (2009), “Relentless” (2010), “Transformation” (2011), “Live” (2012), “PGP” (2013), and “Eric Gales Trio: Ghost Notes.” (2013). He has played on numerous albums with other musicians, and has contributed to tribute albums to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin, among others.

Also a singer, Gales has contributed vocals on several records by Prophet Posse and Three 6 Mafia.


TERRENCE HOWARD is an American actor and singer. He was nominated for the Academy Award® and a Golden Globe® for Best Actor for his performance in HUSTLE & FLOW (2005). He won a National Board of Review Award for best breakthrough performance, for his role in the Academy Award®-winning CRASH.

Some of his better known films include DEAD PRESIDENTS (1995), THE PLAYERS CLUB (1998), RAY (2004), FOUR BROTHERS (2005), AUGUST RUSH (2007), IRON MAN (2008), WINNIE MANDELA (2011, as Nelson Mandela), RED TAILS (2012), and LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER (2013),

Howard attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where he majored in chemical engineering. He began receiving small acting roles, including a part on “The Cosby Show.”Other television opportunities followed, including the role of Jackie Jackson in1992 ABC miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream,”and guest appearances on a number of episodic TV shows.

After getting his first major film role in MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS (1995), he followed with DEAD PRESIDENTS (1995), SUNSET PARK (1996), JOHNS (1996), DOUBLE TAP (1997), SPARK (1998), BUTTER (1998), THE BEST MAN (1999), BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE (2000), ANGEL EYES (2001), HART’S WAR (2002), BIKER BOYZ (2003), THE SALON (2005), HBO’S “Lackawanna Blues” (2005), GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’ (2005), IDLEWILD (2006), PRIDE (2007), THE HUNTING PARTY (2007), THE BRAVE ONE (2007), AWAKE (2007), THE PERFECT HOLIDAY (2007), FIGHTING (2009), LITTLE MURDER (20011), THE LEDGE (2011), THE COMPANY YOU KEEP (2012), MOVIE 43 (2013), HOUSE OF BODIES (2013), PRISONERS (2013), THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (2013), THE BEING EXPERIENCE (2013), SABOTAGE (2014), and LULLABY (2014).

Howard made his Broadway debut in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 2008, and that same year, released his first studio album “Shine Through It,” a mix of R&B, soul and pop genres. His TV appearances include “Wayward Pines,” “Hawaii Five-O,”“Law & Order: LA,” and “Street Time,” and “Sparks.”

Howard currently stars in the hit TV series “Empire.”


IAN SIEGAL is a British singer and guitarist. Heavily influenced by the British blues/rock scene of the 60s and 70s, Siegal has been described by UK’s Mojo Magazine as “One of the most innovative, gifted and engaging blues performers on the planet today.” He was inducted into the British Blues Awards Hall of Fame in 2014, after three consecutive awards for “Male Vocalist.” He has also won British Blues Awards for “Album of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” “Acoustic Artist of the Year,” “Blues Band of the Year,” “Blues Album of the Year,” and was twice nominated for “Contemporary Album of the Year.”

His 2011 release, “The Skinny,” was produced by Cody Dickinson at the Zebra Ranch, and Dickinson also played on it. The album was nominated in the Blues Foundation’s 2012 Blues Music Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. “Candy Store Kid” (2012) , also produced by Cody Dickinson at the Zebra Ranch, was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the “Contemporary Blues Album” category.

Siegal’s other albums include: “Standing in the Morning” (2002), “Meat & Potatoes” (2005), “Swagger” (2007), and “The Dust” (2008), and “Broadside” (2009). His most recent album, “Man & Guitar,” was recorded by the BBC at the Royal Albert Hall in London.