By Michael P Coleman

In preparation for this Sunday’s tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, I stumbled across a treasure:  Damien Sneed, the creative force behind the show, has just released a phenomenal new album, the identically entitled We Shall Overcome.

Sneed is the Duke Ellington or Quincy Jones of his generation, a musical genius who has mastered multiple instruments and has worked with legends like Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Audra McDonald, Carlos Santana, and David Sanborn. 

How’d the 39 year old get there so quickly?  He’s been at it for awhile, having mastered piano by the time he was three years old, and was musical director at his church — not Sunday school. Adult Holy Ghost-filled service! — by the time he was eight. 

“I have a great responsibility and a calling to propagate King’s message of peace, non-violence, and unity,” Sneed recently told the Gallo Center.  “Those of us who have the gift of music must use our platforms — our voices, guitars, drum sets or keyboards — to bring people together and to bring messages of hope.” 

And Sneed’s new album?  If it’s reflective of what we’re going to experience this weekend in Modesto, we’re in for a blessing.

As the aforementioned Ellington and the legendary Mahalia Jackson once put it:

Come Sunday!

Click here to read more about We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March 3 at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto in the Gallo Center Magazine. 

Damien Sneed’s new album, We Shall Overcome, is available at all major digital outlets. 

Click here to purchase tickets for Sunday’s show!

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Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.

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