The current artist series to combat to popular myths that blues is dead, or that it is no longer Black. Obsidian has picked 5 artists of varying ages to highlight, all with very different sounds. Artists that can still be found today! Consider checking them out, buying a CD and adding them to your que of music.
Let’s start with an easy one, Ruthie Foster. Unlike some of the other names on this list, saying Ms Foster is well known is a bit of an understatement. After a whole life of being musical, from growing up in the church- to singing in the navel band Pride, It should have surprised no one when she decided to become a full time artist in 1997.
Since then she’s been racking up awards and nominations ranging from Grammy nominations to winning the Koko Taylor Award – Best Traditional Female blues Artist. She even recently performed in Carnegie Hall in February of 2018! If you haven’t heard of this powerhouse now is a great time to check out her music for yourself!
The youngest of 28, I have to imagine that Grady Champion had a lot of prove to himself upon being born. He, like so many gravitated to music at a young age, yet it wasn’t until much later that he realized he had a talent for the Blues. In 1998 He self realsed his first blues album and the rest has been history.
His music often ties in other elements: such as gospel, hip hop, and more. You have hear the fun spreading from every song of his music. Yet, there is something amazing about the gritty ness about his voice as he digs into your solo.
Check out this Grammy winner for a unique take on the blues that’s as refreshing as it is different.
Alvin Youngblood Hart
This Genre bending artist HAs been playing since ‘77. He’s known as a musican’s musican and is respected world wide. He’s been on the road for two decades and his beautiful voice will haunt you long after the song ends. He can be found in a few documentaries and films singing the blues.
I’m a particular fan of his acoustic work. He brings a interesting style to one of the oldest styles of blues. This style is light and yet still filled with the depth and feeling of traditional acoustic blues. If you feel like acoutic blues sounds the same, He’s a good one to check out!
In blues as a genre there has been much discussion about the roots of blues. Is blues an Africa product? An American one? Or a mix. Corey Harris is an artist who lived and travelled west Africa where many of the American slaves were brought from. this gives his music a deeply rooted flavor that feels both new and familiar.
He grew up in Denver but has since settled in Virgina. Along the way, he’s been apart of many albums, won serval awards and is a MacArthur Fellow. He is currently touring around the world.
You can support him at http://Patreon.com/coreyharrismusic and check out his newest CD Free Waterway.
Rounding out this list is a electric guitar artist. He began playing at the young age of 6, and was quickly becoming known as a young prodigy. He played with many of the big names at the time. Still, It was 1995 before he’d worked through some personal problems that he really started performing regularly..
His music has been nominated in the past and in 2016, he won a Grammy. He music has a lot of the soul I hear missing from many of the white artists playing the blues. You can hear the blues in his voice and every note. The songs stretch and linger in a way the makes the soul ache and feel a release. He doesn’t always follow many of the western ideals of music, and instead explores timing, note bending, rhythms and syncopation. Even his faster music has a pleasant groove to it that just makes you want to get up and dance.
Until next time
Make sure you check out these artists and let me know what you think! They are all still Playing so consider buying a CD, seeing them live, or reading up on them a bit. The blues is still alive, but only if we continue to support those keeping the art alive.