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Keeping Blues Alive By Not Being Traditional

Updated on January 12, 2015

Why artists will kill the blues if they don't progress.

A very simple idea here. If one stays within the so-called boundaries of of a musical genre (in this case the blues) and slavishly adheres to whatever specifics that created that specific sound and vibe, then the music will become a museum piece. I know of many blues and jazz musicians who actually believe anything recorded past the early sixties is crap. Well my fellow musicians, that's a sure way to make sure your musical love dies a horrible painful death.

If you don't innovate and everyone just does the same thing, then it becomes a pathetic watered down shadow of it's former self. The music gets rehashed and cannibalized to stay within these preconceived boundaries. Just realize, there was only one Muddy Waters, (or whoever-fill in the blank) and now it's time to move on. Acknowledge the past, pay tribute to it, and be influenced by it, but for God's sake do something different.

Be Different, Be Criticized, Who Cares?

I have always tried to be creative by adding elements of other styles to my improvisations. So this could be country riffs in jazz, jazz riffs in blues, rock riffs in jazz etc. Whatever I learn I tend to want to apply it everywhere, throw it at the wall so to speak and see what sticks.

This is the only way, at least for myself I can see moving forward and possibly creating something unique I can call my own. Trust me I have had heaps of criticism in my life of playing especially from purists in all styles, too rock for jazz, too jazz for blues etc.Some of it may even be valid but I am searching for sounds that appeal to me so that is what guides me.

I would encourage those that are seeking to create their own style to do what feels right to them and not be afraid of what others might say.

Enough About Me Already!

Guitarists That Matter

Some of the great blues innovators and personal influences. This is an off the top of my head list of some of the guitarists who in my mind have contributed significantly to the vocabulary of the blues idiom:

  • Jimi Hendrix
  • BB King
  • Albert King
  • T-Bone Walker
  • Duane Allman
  • Harvey Mandell
  • Johnny Winter
  • Jeff Beck
  • Robben Ford
  • Roy Buchanen
  • Danny Gatton

This is not a comprehensive list by any means and I will add more as I think of them. These artists each have their own distinctive style and licks that makes them immediately recognizable.


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