Well, by now, we know that Rock and Country have, both, have had artists come along that completely abandon the roots of the music. In the 80’s, and often now, there were artists, classified as Rock, that were just as Pop as it comes. I’ve heard people refer to Boy George as Rock…need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyway. In Country music, which I’ll, often, inform you about, if you don’t already know, the new trend is to play straight up Rock or Rap music. No Country music is allowed anymore in the genre of Country music. Doesn’t that seem strange? Obviously it doesn’t, because Nashville’s big corporate music guys are some of the most successful people in the entertainment industry, right now. Around 2003 or 2004, the folks in Nashville figured out how to make money. It was right in front of their eyes the whole time, and they never saw it. The big secret was…drum roll please…ONLY RELEASE AND PROMOTE THE KIND OF MUSIC THAT HAS ALREADY PROVEN TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN SALES! At the time, artists like Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne were the big sellers, so what did Nashville do? They signed a girl named Carrie Underwood, who had just won American Idol, and they put her in a studio, and put some Kelly Clarkson-style songs in front of her and said “Alright. Sing that.” And, she did. And, everyone made a whole lot of money. Meanwhile, tucked away in the corner, there were new Blues artists coming up that still reminded listeners of classic artists, who helped shape the genre, through the years. People like Keb Mo and Joe Bonamassa started coming along. Now, Joe Bonamassa has released some music that is straight up Rock, but when he plays the Blues, you know, without question, that it’s Blues music. I haven’t heard anybody, who is still classified as a Blues artist, release music that had, absolutely, no qualities of Blues roots. Could it be that Blues is the only genre of music that still holds onto its roots? I believe so, but why? Could it be that the record labels and promoters of Blues music demand that artists stick with the roots? Or, could it be that, just maybe, the artists in the Blues genre are more loyal and dedicated to the genre, and they play it because they love and feel it, instead of just to make money. I believe the second one is probably the most likely of the two, but the first could be true, to some extent. I’m sure some of the promoters and record labels prefer to only work with artists that truly play the Blues, and really, who can blame them? The Blues is an art form that’s been passed down through generations, to illustrate the life of the real, everyday person, and to be a form of release for people with rough lives, looking for somebody who knows just what they’re going through, or can, somehow, put it into words, even if they don’t know what they’re going through. The Blues is for the people. There’s not near as much money to be made with Blues as there is with Country or Rock, but I feel that, since Blues artists stay true to what they believe, that makes that genre, probably, the most respected genre, in my book. People like John Mayer and Jonny Lang started out playing Blues, and claimed they loved it. Then, years later, they figured out you could make more money playing Soft Rock, so they took that path. Now, Jonny Lang’s trying to squeeze back into the Blues world. He’s very talented, and he’s a great Blues artist, or, at least, I thought he was. Honestly, to be a truly great Blues artist, one must NEVER turn their back on the genre, even when it’s not the best financial move for them, simply because, it is the most rewarding genre, in my opinion.
The photo you see in this blog is one I took when I saw Buddy Guy at Riverfest in Little Rock, a few years ago.
Since Buddy Guy’s probably the best Blues artist alive, in my opinion, I’ll post a couple of videos you can check out here:
Here’s Buddy Guy playing at Bonnaroo in 2006 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0KHQS0xvhg
Here’s a video I took of Buddy Guy at Riverfest in 2009 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3RzQCGS6iA