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True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

July 2007

A True Blues Primer…

The true blues traditionalist will tell you that you can't play the blues unless you've lived them. "Journeyman's Road – Modern Blues Lives from Faulkner's Mississippi to Post 9/ll New York" by author and veteran blues harmonica player Adam Gussow (University of Tennessee Press), tells the story of an unlikely partnership and collaboration with Harlem bluesman Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee. Both of these gentlemen have paid their dues to play the blues, without a doubt. From the Mississippi Delta to Princeton, to the subculture of New York City following the aftermath of 9/11, this musical journey moves from the life of the street performer, to the smoky blues jams and blues joints of the Big Apple and beyond.

Adam Gussow's new book has received accolades from some of the top blues talent on the scene today, including Gaye Adegbalola (of Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women), and powerhouse blues singer Shemekia Copeland. Roger Wood, author of "Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues," says...

"This book bridges the seemingly disparate worlds of the blues bar and the college seminar as few, if any, others do – eloquently arguing that blues music and blues communities can be significant galvanizing forces in the human experience."

This book, and the author's travels, serve as testament to the healing power of the blues. Adam Gussow is an award-winning author, columnist, and founder and chair of Blues Today – the annual symposium held at the University of Mississippi and sponsored by Living Blues Magazine. For more information on this book, visit www.utpress.org on the web.

New True Blue Tracks Fer Youz…

"Hymn for My Soul," Joe Cocker (EMI International). This European/Asian import was originally released on March 26, 2007. It is the most spiritually-inspired release from Joe Cocker to date. This new import disk, available now from www.amazon.com, includes fresh new interpretations of covers like "You Haven't Done Nothin'", "Long As I Can See the Light," and a moving rendition of the George Harrison classic "Beware of the Darkness." "Ring Them Bells" and the title cut "Hymn 4 My Soul" close out this new collection with signature Cocker power and passion. For more on this legendary singer, visit www.cocker.com on the web.

"Shadows and Cracks," Peter Karp (Blind Pig Records). Peter Karp is an incredible new and unique voice in the American roots music tradition. His songwriting style is somewhat reminiscent of Jackson Browne or a John Prine, with a little bit of Bob Dylan. Peter Karp's original songs are at times humorous, romantic, folky and funky. These are true to life tales, penned by gifted song craftsman and versatile musician. For more on this and other Blind Pig Records artists, visit www.blindpigrecords.com> on the web.

Further on up the road…

In August, we'll be looking at highlights for the upcoming River Roots Live Music Fest (Aug. 24 and 25) www.riverrootslive.com, as well as a very special concert for Child Abuse Awareness just around the bend at River Music Experience on September 15th www.rivermusicexperience.org.

For now, that's all she wrote, and there just ain't no more to say. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace love & blessings to all, and…

Blues to ‘ya!

Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in ‘True Blue’, each month in the Entertainment section of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. He is also Director of Programming & Education for River Music Experience, a not-for-profit center dedicated to preservation, education and celebration of American Roots music, and hosts ‘Currents at the Crossroads’ music segment of WQPT’s Life & Times.


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