Written by Jim Bille
Apr 23, 2011 at 08:00 PM
House concerts are a great way to hear some fantastic music in a casual up close atmosphere. You get to meet new folks, usually sample some great food and hang out with the musicians as well. HMR is a big supporter of this type entertainment and recently I received an invitation to a private house concert hosted by good friends Paula and Mark Sermons to hear Mark’s brother Ross perform.


Based out of Nashville, Ross Sermons has become one of the better known session musicians in the music capital and is routinely sought out to lay down his bass lines for many local and national artists. Although mostly known for his bass guitar prowess, Sermons can also keep up with the best of them when pickin on his six string resonator guitar.


His resume includes session work and live performances with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Steve Winwood and Steve Cropper. As part of bluesman Big Mike Griffin’s band he opened for blues legends such as Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, Robert Lockwood Jr, Gatemouth Brown and Gregg Allman to name a few.


Sermons grew up in an area of North Carolina that is well known for producing incredible Blue Grass and traditional guitar pickers like Doc and Merle Watson, David Holt, and The Red Clay Ramblers. There must be something in that mountain water that sprouts these kinds of players and judging from the way Sermons performance sounded the other night he must have drank more than a few gallons of it.


Ross Sermons show included a little bit of everything from covers of traditional blues numbers like ‘Deep Elum Blues’ and ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ to original compositions like King’s Pool Room’. His version of Randy Newman’s ‘Louisiana 1927’ might have made you cry if you let it, but for me the tune that really hit home was a medley of Norman Blake’s composition, ‘Randall Collins’ and ‘Shady Grove’. Sermons transition from one melody to the next and then back on this number was masterful.


I’ve always been a sucker for the slide guitar and Sermons did not disappoint as he slipped and slid over his guitar strings tearing through his great version of ‘Rollin and Tumblin’ as well as his original composition ‘Carolina Blues’.


Sermons latest CD, ‘Kings Poolroom’, has just been released and is loaded with some incredible music. From traditional blues standards to original numbers this disk has it all. Numbers from the CD featured at the show included, ‘Preacher’, ‘Goodbye Booze’ and ‘Redbelly Shuffle’ among others.


Our friends on the house concert or club scene of Houston wouldn’t go wrong in booking this music man next time he’s in town.


More info, including booking, sample music, videos, and CD’s for Ross Sermons can be found at http://www.rosssermons.com/fr_home.cfm or http://www.reverbnation.com/rosssermons


Check him out…..we like him a lot!!!!