Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tradition and the Blues.

Thank Goodness it's Friday, and to celebrate I want to look at the blues. Not because I'm sad, but because musically it's where I keep coming back to and I aim to play some guitar with my little son this weekend.

So here's a group of videos from the Youtube school of art. You'll see a lot of people on youtube wanting to teach you the blues, and while they might be getting the notes right a lot of them are just playing it all wrong.

I was at a guitar store about this time last year shopping for a guitar because I wanted to get back into it. So I'm in this shop and a young guy was in there impressing some younger guys with his skills. Fair enough right? Well he worked there and was showing them this magnificent real steel guitar that I would have loved to get my hands on but I just kind of kept looking around at the stuff I could reach. Anyway, this guy says "you know how to play that Delta stuff?" Of course my ears perked up because that's part of what I've been admiring since I was 12. Dude puts a slide on his finger and proceeds to defile that poor guitar playing the worst sliding mess I've ever heard. He got the notes right, but he was playing it all wrong. The younger guys were very impressed. I left.

Note that I don't mention 'tone' or what vintage guitar you'll need to play. It's in the fingers, and it's in the person controlling the fingers.

Not that I can do all that much better, but there's a disconnect somewhere there. There's technique and there's feeling, and there's the language you're speaking. Not just blues, pick your artform and this would apply.

I'll pull on the thread for a while and see what ties together.

On joining a tradition:

Maybe Leonard Cohen is a good place to start, even though it's not about the blues. But the blues is a bit like folk, enough for me.
(5:30) Confession filtered through a tradition...


Jack White (from 2:20, and around 3:00)


If you haven't heard this album yet you're missing out.
2:00 and 4:00


Remind me to compile some videos on minimal setups and artists wanting to create limitations to make themselves come up with creative solutions.
Looking for the tradition (without a textbook):

Billy Gibbons teaches more than technique here. It's a language.


Keith knows it, look for the '1 on 1', for example.


Stevie Ray Vaughan


2:20
"You feel it first and then you learn how to do it. It takes a lifetime..."


Zuzu Bollin - remind me to compile some videos about how so many blues musicians' Mamas didn't want them playing that devil music.


How it's played distinguishes one song from another.
(It's at 2:00)


Sometimes you better get it right.


And to pull it all together here's Jimmy, just because he's amazing.


Want more?
Here's a great playlist.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=AEF78D82CA863072&search_query=blues+tradition

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