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 100 high school and middle school students during its SNAP! After School program during the school year, and approximately 60 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, Miss., 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 Dickinson’s 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 United States, and released two albums since then.

Cody, co-producer of Take Me to The River, also started a side project, Hill Country Revue, featuring Daniel Coburn, Kirk Smithhart, Doc Samba and Ed Cleveland. They have released two albums titled Make A Move (2009), and Zebra Ranch (2010).

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.”

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 titled Hambone’s Meditations, which received a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.

In 2013, the North Mississippi Allstars released World Boogie Is Coming, produced at their father’s Zebra Ranch in Hernando, Miss. 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.

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, Miss.

THE CITY CHAMPS are a Memphis-based soul/jazz organ trio, the latest in a long list 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 include The Safecracker (2009) and The Setup (2010). Since the release of their first album, the group has toured the United States 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 16, 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).

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, N.Y., 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 in 1992 ABC mini series The Jacksons: An American Dream,” and guest appearances on a number of episodic TV shows.

Upcoming for Howard is the title role in Macbett, a modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

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 U.K.’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. 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), The Dust (2008), and Broadside (2009). His most recent album, Man & Guitar, was recorded by the BBC at the Royal Albert Hall in London.