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Shannon Powell & His Drums

Ron Weinstock

The only thing more fun than talking to Shannon Powell is listening to him play. Powell is one of the most charismatic drummers to ever grace a stage. His secret? "I'm happy," Powell tells Music Inside Out. "I was a happy child. I'm a happy spirit."

From his early years playing with jazz greats Danny and Blue Lu Barker, Powell has been spreading the joy. He's recorded with scores of artists. And he's traveled the world with Ellis Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr. and Diana Krall. On tour, Powell has been known to cook up New Orleans fare in his hotel rooms. But everybody knows that the real cooking happens on stage.

A GREAT BIG THANK-YOU to the good people at The Historic New Orleans Collection for their generous support of Music Inside Out on WWNO.

For an interactive playlist and other lagniappe, including Shannon Powell's schedule for Jazz Fest, visit the Music Inside Out website at

Music Playlist

*featuring Shannon Powell on drums

"Classified" Spotify
James Booker

*"Bourbon Street Parade"
Danny Barker
Blue Lu Barker Live at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Featuring the Legendary Danny Barker & His Jazz Hounds  

*"Don't You Feel My Leg"
Blue Lu Barker 
Blue Lu Barker Live at the New Orleans Jazz Festival Featuring the Legendary Danny Barker & His Jazz Hounds 

*"I Cover the Waterfront"  MOG
Johnny Adams
The Verdict

*"Petite Fleur" Spotify | MOG
Dr. Michael White
Adventures in New Orleans, Part 2

*"And the World Weeps" Spotify | MOG
Dr. Michael White
Adventures in New Orleans, Part 2

*"Tremé Song" SpotifyMOG
John Boutté

"Hey Pocky Way" Spotify | MOG
The Neville Brothers
Fiyo On the Bayou

"I'll Fly Away" SpotifyMOG
The Tremé Brass Band 
The Tremé Brass Band

*"I Done Made It Up In My Mind" MOG
Maria Muldaur
Steady Love

*"That's Enough" Spotify | MOG
John Scofield
Piety Street

"That's Enough" Spotify | MOG 
Dorothy Love Coates
The Best of Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes

*"Lord, Lord, Lord" Spotify 
Shannon Powell 
Powell's Place 

*"You Don't Know Me"
Shannon Powell (Live)

James Booker 

*Mystery Song
Shannon Powell
When the Saints Go Marching In

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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.