Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Play The Blues
I recently had a conversation with a younger colleague and he expressed to me that he didn't really like playing blues music and that he was only playing blues gigs until he could get a pop or r&b gig. I found this amusing because like so many musicians he is so confused. My advice to him was that if he learned to truly respect the blues and fully embrace it, he would be a better musician all around. Simply put, "Play the blues." Most of us run from the blues because of the perception that is a music for old people and it doesn't pay well. I beg to differ on both accounts. First of all, the blues is the tie that binds ALL forms of American popular music. It all stems from the blues. Yes there is more commercial success in other forms but for a working musician, knowing how to play the blues will keep you working all the time. There are hundreds of festivals and venues world wide that cater to the blues and all forms of the blues. It's best if you have a record but you don't have to be number one on the charts or have a hit video. I play all kinds of music but my knowledge of and respect for the blues have been the key to my continued growth and ability to sustain myself as a working musician. Having a basic understanding of the blues in the key to playing jazz, country, funk, soul, r&b and even hip hop. The blues is about groove and free creative expression and it is not just and old music. It is still growing and it can grow even more when ALL musicians understand it's importance to our growth. The blues also challenges our intellect and emotional maturity. It's all about taking what life gives you and making something beautiful out of it and you will ALWAYS be able to make money no matter what the trend is. The blues is respected world wide and there will always be an audience for it. Also, the next time you are watching T.V., take notice of how many movies and commercials use blues or blues influenced music and concepts. Don't be afraid to play the blues. Enjoy the journey.
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