Humanities Project: Blues Hall of Famer Lem Sheppard Returns to CCC on Nov. 19th

Lemuel Sheppard shown playing guitar during an outdoor concert

Lem Sheppard

Lem Sheppard will return to the Coffeyville Community College stage on Nov. 19th as he will perform at 10:30 a.m. in the Spencer/Rounds Theatre as part of the CCC Humanities Project. Lem will present a program covering the pursuit of music by African Americans in Kansas communities from 1860 to 1920. The performance is free and open to the public.

The musical activities of African Americans from about 1860 to 1920 are part of an untold story in Kansas history. They were active in string bands, mandolin quartets, cornet bands, orchestras and as itinerant musicians and jubilee singers. They performed at venues in many cities as well as in private homes of the elite and “furnished” music for barn dances, fairs, weddings and civic events. 

Lem will be presenting a program of this music taken from the pages of Kansas history. Some of the songs will be familiar as they were popular songs of the day, but the people and places are a unique chapter in Kansas history.

A Kansas City native, Lem is an accomplished blues musician, and was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2007 he was the recipient of the Joan O’Bryan award from the Kansas Folklore Society. Sheppard was asked to compose and perform the soundtrack to the PBS documentary "Black, White & Brown."

He has taken his unique brand of Kansas City Blues to South America, Africa, on nationwide tours, and a solo performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2000.

Lem has performed alongside Taj Mahal, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Little Charlie and The Night Cats, Sparky Rucker, Danny Cox, Mark Selby, Cephas and Wiggins, Drink Small, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Honey Boy Edwards among many more.