This is One of the Most Important Albums Music Maker Ever Recorded

inNews & Mediaon July 19, 2018


John Lee Zeigler & Denise Duffy, Kathleen, GA | photo by Timothy Duffy

Music scholars such as Mike Seeger and Taj Mahal have often told me that John Lee Zeigler is the most important artists that Music Maker has ever partnered with. John was from Kathleen, Georgia a very small town near Macon. This area produced some of our nations greatest musicians, such as Little Richard and Otis Redding. There is a musical magic in this county. John was a great poet, musician, and a very strong willed individual, he and I had a close bond from when I met him in 1995 till his passing in 2008. His style captures, in a miraculously simultaneous manner, a sound that is both simplistic and deeply intricate.

— Tim Duffy

I remain in touch with his children and grand children and am very proud that his grandson Jermaine wrote these wonderful notes while fixing up his grandfather’s old home place:

My name is Jermaine Allen, grandson of the late John L. Zeigler. I was raised by my grandfather in the small town of Kathleen, Georgia along with my four younger siblings. There were some trying times, but my grandfather did the best he could to ensure we kids were taken care of. My grandfather was what I like to call a jack-of-all-trades. His primary job was plumbing, and he was really good at it. He never hardly called anyone to fix anything, he pretty much could do it all himself. Didn’t matter the task; electrical, mechanical, cooking, farming, and even his home remedies for curing common cold symptoms.

My grandfather’s greatest love was making people smile, dance, and forget their problems while listening to him play his guitar and sing the old-time country western blues. Growing up, I looked forward to Friday and Saturday when we’d have what we Southerners like to call “drum beats”. My granddad and his drummer, Rufus, would play to crowds from all parts of middle Georgia; Perry, Macon, Albany, Fort Valley, Atlanta and many other places. I had the opportunity on several occasions to travel to various cities and towns across the South to watch my grandfather bring the house down.

I would love to learn how to play like my grandfather so one day I could give my family just a little piece of the blues. To this day, I get calls and emails from people asking if I have any recordings from my grandfather’s time singing and playing the blues. He is sorely missed by his friends and family, but his memory will never leave us.

Leave a Comment

What is worth keeping is worth passing on,

help preserve American Culture.

Donate Today