A Roadhouse extra: Finding good blues stuff so that you don’t have to

I keep running across good blues things on the Interwebs, and some it cries out to be shared. Some of you may have seem some of it, but I hope it’s good reading (and viewing) for most.

I love blues history. Stories about how the music developed and then how it shaped so much other American music. It’s a story that bears telling, and then repeating. It’s more than one story, though; it’s a wide variety of stories, told from many perspectives about many people and many places. And that brings me to the first item here:

Muddy Waters
ILLUSTRATION: BRIAN GRAY, USA TODAY NETWORK

This is a series of stories from USA TODAY Network journalists nationwide on how black artists and black music have contributed to American culture. It’s a lot of material, but it can be read in sections, plus it’s what the people in the newspaper biz call “a good read.”

The article describes itself modestly:

“The stories that follow are not an exhaustive or definitive picture of the indelible contributions of Black musical artists to American culture. We hope rather, in the spirit of Black History Month, to illuminate a few stories, a few places and some of the people who helped make music what it is today.”

But don’t let that fool you. It’s excellent writing and reading.


Festival updates: I’ve notice that some clubs are scheduling live dates, and some festivals are being announced for this year. Here’s hoping that it’s the beginning of the rebirth of blues shows. Here’s a link to the Blues Festival Guide for 2021, to give you a look at some dates that are on the books. Let’s hope they stay there.


And now, some music: Finally, a video from NPR radio station KNKX in Seattle, featuring an interview with and music by Marcia Ball. She joins NPR’s John Kessler in a virtual visit from her home near Austin, where she talks music and shares a few songs.

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