A Case for Listening to the Blues

“The blues should never be stagnant.”

To me, out of all of the different genres and sub genres of music, the blues is at the bottom of the popularity list. If I were to guess, rock or pop are at the top, with rap close behind. A lot of people dismiss the blues because it’s “sad.” While its origins are rooted in the African American slave trade (chants, work songs), over the decades the blues has evolved and doesn’t contain that element of sadness as heavily as it did before.

The blues has influenced ALL genres, so that’s something to take note of. Early rock n roll songs such as “Johnny B. Goode” and “What’d I Say” are based on the blues. Bob Dylan released a blues album; British blues introduced groups like Fleetwood Mac, Cream and The Animals to American audiences; Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix created the fusion blues rock, respectively. Blues, and area specific blues (Chicago blues, Delta blues) can be heard in almost every song we listen to on the radio or that we have on our iPods.

If the blues wants to keep on living (one of the last great blues guitarists, Buddy Guy, has a negative outlook on the future of his genre) it cannot remain slow and sad, like a lot of people know it to be like. Sure, the original form of the blues is great, but it’s not everyone’s taste. Just like what Stevie and Hendrix did, and John Mayer (I got turned on to the blues by him), the blues has to keep pushing its boundaries. Music is evolutionary and ever-changing anyway, and I believe that the blues can be this way too.

Take a listen.


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