It’s a festival with everything between international headliners and relative unknowns, intricately-plotted compositions and completely free improvisation, high-concept one-offs and bands shaped over decades. See photos from the nine-year-old marathon of new bands and repertoires in New York.
Henry Thomas is literally a link to an earlier time. Born in 1874, his music is a patchwork of blues, rags and folk songs. His use of quills, or pan-pipes, is a relic of a nearly vanished African American tradition. Listening to Henry Thomas gives a glimpse of what music might have sounded like before [...]
Blind Willie Johnson was a bluesman and a preacher. His lyrics were spiritual, and his music was blues. Though he only made 30 recordings, his work is a lasting part of the blues legacy. Early players like Son House and Fred McDowell played his tunes, and his influence reached people like Bob Dylan and Led [...]
“I believe I’ll dust my broom” is an old saying meaning to make a new start. With that catchy phrase, and a distinctive guitar riff Robert Johnson created an important piece of blues history when he recorded “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” in 1936. True to Johnson’s form, it synthesized existing musical elements in [...]