Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Slow Burning Blues

Any serious musician must have some knowledge and appreciation of the blues to have any credibility, even if it's a genre they don't work in regularly. As proof, you can hear the blues in the songs of a ton of musicians who don't have any real connection to the genre: stars such as James Taylor ("Steamroller Blues") or even Carole King. Surely you can hear Bessie Smith or Susan Tedeschi belting out "I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet" without a whole lot of effort.

No blues satisfies my soul more than slow burning blues. These songs, many with extended, improvised guitar solos that often unfold at a snail's pace allow the finger-picker to stretch out and show off his chops. Intense but smoldering guitar work played by virtuosos, often supported by jazzy organ or piano fills and understated vocals, are a hallmark of the genre.

Electric blues sounds like rock music to many people and acoustic blues is often thought of as folk music but real music fans know blues when they hear it. The genre is not easy to explain but honesty is its most important component.

The easiest way to understand and fall in love with this highly emotional music born in America's deep South is by simply listening to the masters below play their hearts out. Stevie Ray Vaughan's Austin City Limits performance is particularly outstanding.

1 comment:

  1. Nice piece Charlie. Try Blood, Sweat & Tears "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" or my long time favorite Mark Knopfler solo in the title track from Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits.