28 February 2012

This is American Music

The White House performances hosted on the Obama's watch have been nothing short of Milky-Way stellar. Last time, the First Couple invited Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder to the East Room. This time, they showcased a fantasy blues team of substance and breadth that ranged from Susan Tedeschi to Trombone Shorty.

The celebration of a REAL, home-grown musical idiom like the Blues, with all its tribulations and slow-burning soul, gives me goose-bumps. To know I participate in an American experiment with all its lofty ideals and all its obvious warts, moves me.

Blues legend Buddy Guy paints the arc of our nation's recent journey:
"I was born on a farm in Louisiana. My family were sharecroppers, and I picked cotton by hand, not by machine. And all of a sudden you go to sleep, wake up, and you're invited to play at the White House. This is something so special, you know, I just close my eyes and say, thank you God."
~Buddy Guy at 0:37 below..

Jimi Hendrix said the Blues aren't hard to play, just hard to feel.
A guy will promise you the world and give you nothin', and that's the Blues.
~Otis Rush, Blues guitarist and singer
I don't know that there's a satisfactory definition of the Blues. But there's no other musical genre that so poignantly encapsulates hope and despair. The Blues is the narrative of the non-native American, but its hard luck themes and searing licks are universally resonant.

The Blues is quintessential American music.

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