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Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 16:35 PM

Jerry Roe "Wheels"

The video I have posted is from a long-time Meinl cymbal artist by the name of Jerry Roe. Many of you may not know it, but in this video and in more to come, Jerry is drumming for two legends of American music. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Their impact on American music is so deep and wide, that it's hard to condense into a few sentences. This type of gig comes easily to Jerry however. That's because Jerry is the grandson of another American music legend, the late Jerry Reed. Just like Emmylou and Rodney, Jerry Reed's impact on American music was enormous. Instead of trying to explain the magnitude of these three artists' contributions, just google their names and check out some cool music history when you read their Wikipedia profiles. It's pretty crazy...

In this video, Jerry is drumming to the song "Wheels," a song written by two pioneers of the "cosmic country" sound, Gram Parsons (who gave Emmylou Harris her start) and Chris Hillman. Both of these guys were in a band called The Flying Burrito Brothers when they wrote this song together. The "cosmic country" sound that I referred to was a new way of bringing the Hank Williams Sr. style of Appalachian twang to rock and roll, and it had a huge impact on bands and albums such as  The Rolling Stones' "Let It Bleed" and "Exile on Main Street," Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors," and The Eagles' "Hotel California," just to name but a few. You get the idea.

In this day and age, it seems that drumming gymnastics are what everyone oohs and aahs over. That's all cool, and of course it certainly has its place and is quite relevant. BUT... there is also a time and place for simplicity and feel, and nowhere is this type of drumming more necessary than in Americana music such as a song like "Wheels."

It's important for me to say that Jerry is a better drummer than most of the guys you have seen and heard. He can play circles around most cats from most styles, and that includes metal.  So his technical chops are outstanding. But Jerry makes his living off of playing pocket feel, because that is what makes most people's feet tap and their legs move. It's enjoyable.

While you're watching this video, pay attention to the camera angle that's from Jerry's left side. Watch his left shoulder. Watch the way he digs in. You might watch this and think "oh, that's easy." But try playing it AND make it feel good. It's incredibly difficult. There's a push and pull in this kind of music that has to keep the time but also make it feel like a lazy Sunday afternoon with a soft light and a cool breeze. You have to feel at peace while listening to this. Jerry nails it.

Whether you're a blast beat metal head or a devotee to the symphony, it doesn't matter. It's always cool to check out something that is outside of your comfort zone. You can learn a lot. Check this out. I hope you enjoy it.


Chris Brewer

Chris Brewer

Artist Relations Manager for Meinl USA