Happy Spring to all! This week's feature article is submitted by Jack Downey:
BLUES YOU CAN USE - What is the blues?
What is the blues? Within the blues there are a myriad of sub-genres that collectively make up that style of music that we celebrate every week at Lowcountry Blues Club. While there are certain styles of play that are easy to recognize as definitive ‘blues’, there are players that choose to perform songs that push the envelope of the ‘standard’ blues genre. The truth is, what started as acoustic music played in the rural Mississippi Delta has grown and evolved into forms that may or may not be instantly recognizable as ‘blues’.
The blues has also spawned completely other forms of music, including jazz, rock and roll, rockabilly, funk, country, southern rock, doo wop, and a host of others. Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, T-Bone Walker, and Jimmy Reed represent some of the definitive blues that marked the early part of the 20th century. British rockers took the art form to a new, more high-energy level…artists like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Jeff Beck, Ten Years After and Led Zeppelin, as well as Americans John Lee Hooker, Lonnie Mack, B.B. King, Duane Allman, Johnny Winter, and Jimi Hendrix. From there, a newer wave of blues artists emerged…Gary Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood, ZZ Top, and Jeff Healey.
Today, artists like Jonny Lang, Govt’t Mule, Popa Chubby, John Mayer, Walter Trout, Blues Traveler, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa, and The Black Keys carry on in a form that would be considered very progressive to someone like Robert Johnson in 1928, but is, nonetheless…the blues. When someone makes a song selection at the weekly blues jam that is something I might initially consider outside of the genre, I listen closer and try to open my mind to how that song represents the blues to that player. Being exposed to different interpretations of ‘the blues’ at Lowcountry Blues Club has helped to deepen my understanding and appreciation of the blues, and has inspired me to share my interpretations with others.
Isn’t that what Lowcountry Blues Club is all about? I think so. I’m looking forward to next Wednesday.
This weekend should be a good one to be out and about, with lots to do around town. As always, we recommend you check out the Charleston City Paper and Charleston Scene for all the news... Here's a few music picks from us though: Friday night March 25th, Sharon Jones and the Dap-King bring their old-school soul and funk (and awesome horns) to the Music Farm, 8pm, $20. On Saturday night our own Highway 17 Blues Band plays at the Bottom Grill and Pub, and our good friend Scott Bucholtz plays with the country-style Mason-Dixon band at Famous Joe's. On Sunday the 27th there's a cool Record Expo at Monster Music in West Ashley from 10 am - 5pm featuring lots of new and used vinyl. And later on Sunday night Mike Watt and the Missingmen play the Pour House with openers The Fairy God Muthas featuring our friend Ballard Lesemann.
Come out each and every Wednesday to the jam at Home Team BBQ/ West Ashley, 8pm, y'all!
March birthdays are Son House, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Eric Clapton.
Join us on facebook and twitter, and check out some of our recordings from the Wednesday jams at http://www.reverbnation.com/lowcountrybluesclub
It's time to pay your dues for 2011 if you haven't already done so. Just come out to a jam, and give us $10 for an individual, $25 for a band or family, or $100 for a corporate membership. Or you can mail dues to The Lowcountry Blues Club, P.O. Box 814, Isle of Palms, SC 29451.
LMW, March 24, 2011