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Innovative Blues?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by PastorJay, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    My recent thread about a blues jam brought about a comment which I interpreted as saying that the blues is dead because no one is innovating within the genre.

    I think it's true that too many blues players are basically recycling within a well-established formula.

    How many 12 bar blues songs do we need?

    On the other hand, if you get too far away from the formula, maybe it's not blues anymore?

    Cream was incredibly innovative in its time. Playing Cream songs is not innovative.

    So who's doing something creative in a style that could still be called blues?

    I've got a short list:
    Ben Harper
    Tedeschi Trucks
    Gary Clark, Jr.
    Little Feat (I would have guessed they're no longer in existence, web site says they're playing gigs in 2020)
    Grateful Dead related bands--much of their music is based on jug bands from the 20s and early 30's--but no longer innovating
    Keb Mo
    Less well know acoustic guitarist Catfish Keith

    Who else should be on this list?
     
  2. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    Chris Whitley!

    (though he's not, technically speaking, alive)
     
  3. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Well you sort of have to break it up.
    (Texas blues, Chicago blues, DeepSouth Blues, Cali blues, EastCoast Blues,New and old Brit Blues,post modern)
    (Matt Schofield,Poppa Chubby, Tommy Castro, Tab Benoit, etc)
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
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  4. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Tedeschi-Trucks play some blues songs, but to me they are jam band/ adult contemporary and quite boring. Same with Keb Mo' IMHO, very polite and "nice" sort of blues, reminds me of how I felt about Robert Cray when he was alive.

    Of those mentioned, i appreciate what Gary Clark Jr. is doing he's pushing the boundaries from an honest place.
     
  5. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I think Ana Popavich is pretty innovative.
     
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  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree with your assessment, all the way around...except...

    I’m 99.9% sure ROBERT Cray is still alive...
     
  7. bluzkat

    bluzkat Tele-Holic

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    He's still alive...
     
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  8. MattyK-USA

    MattyK-USA Tele-Afflicted

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    He did a spot-on imitation of a live guy at Crossroads, anyway.
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    For innovative... don't forget Robben Ford. Although that's the problem I think, blues diehards will diss anyone that's not pretty much basic old school blues, yet the genre is dying for lack of innovation. Even, (especially?) local blues societies can be a bit that way.

    Gary Clark is cool and tasty but I see no innovation there myself.
    I agree with the poster about Tedeschi Trucks being mostly a jam band and a bit boring compared with just Tedeschi .

    Innovative to me:
    Robben Ford
    Tommy Castro
    Coco Montoya
    Taj Mahal
    John Nemeth
    etc
     
  10. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I don't know what folks mean by "innovative" blues. Post examples! The musician doesn't have to be a "blues" guy, just playing something you uphold as an example of "innovative" blues. They don't even have to be alive. Music can survive the musician. Extra points for explaining what makes it innovative.
     
  11. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    In the blues genre, if you can get folks to come out to your gigs, that's pretty darn innovative. Somehow making a living at it is downright progressive.
    But, it's not for everyone. Some of these musicians mentioned above just don't play fast enough :p
     
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  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Were you being sarcastic about Robert Cray? As others have already said, he's very much alive.
     
  13. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    To me, Robben Ford is the best "innovative" blues guy there is, although some people still pigeon-hole him in jazz. The problem is, 20 million bar-band guitarists can't play Robben's stuff well enough to even satisfy the drunks they play for.....they're still in the Stevie Ray wannabe mode.....so the general public is not aware of Robben's genius.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  14. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    I don't consider a guy who plays mostly 128th note solos a blues cat. And that's where it's gone for the last 20-30 years. Blues died with the 3 Kings.

    Now, Bluegrass - that's where it's happenin'.
     
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  15. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    is this blues enough for y'all?


    Fantastic Negrito
     
  16. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    how 'bout this?

     
  17. Cheap Trills

    Cheap Trills Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    robert cray is not alive? and robben ford is jazz? this thread is blowing my mind =)

    i agree with OP about how homogeneous blues has become, but my issue isn't with the 12 bar. i think once you go outside the blues forms, it's no longer blues but some derivative-- whch there are a lot. my issue is with how lyricism and soloing within the form is no longer innovative, or even allowed to be innovative. If you don't sound like SRV you have "bad tone".. and lyrics aren't very interesting any more.. too literal. where's nina simone asking me for sugar in her bowl?
     
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  18. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    That's an academic sociological exposition. Just look at the venue! Where's the bar?? The floozies? The blood? How many bookcases did Wolf need?
     
  19. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Afflicted

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    If Wolf were alive today I doubt he'd turn down a gig over something as silly as bookshelves in the background.
     
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  20. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    An interesting topic. I'm not too sure if I know the answer myself. I'll submit this one that seems very innovative, bluesy, but not jazzy, even though it has been out for quite some time now:

     
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