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Shannon Powell: Playing in the Spotlight



When does a side dish become the main attraction?? When it's as hot and zesty as Shannon Powell on the bandstand. Powell, who began drumming professionally as a tween, was born to play in the spotlight. Danny Barker was his teacher, as was Tommy Ridgley, Johnny Adams, Ellis Marsalis and even Ernie K-Doe -- who reminded Powell to hit the bell on the drum kit once in a while. 

This week, Powell is back for a second helping of fun. He tells Gwen Thompkins about his years as a sideman, playing with both Harry Connicks and a whole lot of Marsalises. Before returning to New Orleans and leading his own trio, Powell spent years on the road. He's got one naughty story after another about what musicians do in their hotel rooms. But most of Powell's confessions involve lamb, green beans, hot sauce and a smothered chicken. Shhhh. Don't tell room service.   




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Gwen Thompkins is a New Orleans native, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out, where she brings to bear the knowledge and experience she amassed as senior editor of Weekend Edition, an East Africa correspondent, the holder of Nieman and Watson Fellowships, and as a longtime student of music from around the world.