Fiesta Red

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Several people have said, “That ship has sailed,” regarding blues and guitar-centric music, based on the current crop of pop and hip-hop…

However…the same was said in the early 60’s, before the Beatles…most of the pop was good-looking guys with great hair crooning, like Frankie Avalon, Dion, Paul Anka, et al.
Of course, that was ignoring the Ventures and other bands of that ilk (which were popular but not completely mainstream), but when the Beatles hit the scene, suddenly every band was guitar-centric…

The same thing was repeated in the early 80’s…why would you need a guitar or a bass when you have a synth/keyboard that can do the same thing?
Then ZZ Top had a high-charting album with Eliminator (helped by MYV), and the Dire Straights with Brothers in Arms (helped by MTV), and hair metal started making inroads into the mainstream (mostly because of the “pretty boys” playing wild-looking guitars in front of a writhing hot chick in an MTV video, and the power ballads that the girls liked), and of course, the 80’s Blues Revival that I mentioned in the OP (which was also helped by MTV).

So when somebody says, “That’s not popular now,” I think, “But who knows what will be popular tomorrow? Sone things just aren’t popular—until they are…and there’s often no rhyme or reason for what became popular, it just did.”

Very few people predicted the ascension of Hip-Hop and Rap into the mainstream…I’ll admit, in the 1980’s I was aware (and even liked) some early stuff like the Sugar Hill Gang and Curtis Blow and Run-DMC, but I always thought it would be secondary/small market stuff, not front-of-consciousness and popular. There’s a lot of kids (25 and under) whose main listening choice is—regardless of their demographic—hip hop. It is now the mainstream…and a large segment of people in their 30’s grew up with those genres as a huge part of their listening experience.

There was a huge alternative rock scene in Deep Ellum in Dallas in the 80’s…the remnants of New Wave, the burgeoning Electronica scene, a huge pop singer/songwriter movement, a healthy Hair Metal scene, a decent-sized Blues scene and a small group of punk-ish rock bands…and when Nirvana broke big, every part of that scene was influenced by it, including some of the younger blues guys.
Nobody predicted that the little group of punk-ish rock bands would ever get big—and then it took over.

So right now, here in Texas, there’s a lot of retro-soul bands out there—and 90% of them have great guitarists and even better horn sections…we have a huge Outlaw Country scene that’s been going strong for about 10 years…there’s even a lot of young hard rock bands in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, but there’s not a single focal point for them to congregate (like LA in the 80’s or Seattle in the 90’s).

Will those become the mainstream? Well, I hope so (because I like all of those) but my powers of prediction (see: my misstep of thinking rap would always be secondary/underground) are real reliable, so I won’t hold my breath either way.
 

raysachs

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Jonah Hill, hmmm? This is a good example of this problem...

Why would the creators of this concept choose him? My guess is that his basic "look" provides a foundation for someone who could be "made" to look like Jerry. The right clothes (dark t-shirts, mostly), glasses, the beard (key item), a little makeup and, voilà, Jerry. Whether or not he could hold a guitar, let along actually look convincing trying to play one (and I have no idea if Mr. Hill can play at all) is another question.
At the very least, he's gonna have to lose a finger...
 

telemnemonics

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I didn't mean to sound that way.

There is another thread on here talking about how most guitar demo videos feature someone playing blues riffs. If the people selling the guitars and effect pedals are making videos that speak to their target audience. Perhaps whats being discussed here as "blues" is more prevalent then it appears.

I miss Stevie too.

Saw this guy last month, great show. Straight John lee hooker riff.


I lived in Boston, land of college guitar, when the White Stripes hit early in this new century.
I had high hopes for society getting into the back to basics band in an era when college shred guitar wankery had driven away most audiences aside from kids into wanking on guitars as if wankery was the center of the music universe.

I mentioned to a Berklee grad shredder friend, my hope that TWS might revitalize guitar band music which seemed to have painted itself into a corner that kept getting smaller and smaller as it failed to reach the broader populace, including for example women, who didnt drool over self indulgent showoff guitar soloing based on meaningless scales played at blistering speed.
(talking pop rock not SRV)
OK when I mentioned my hope I didnt imply that all shred players played meaningless solos, but the point is that he hated the white stripes and it seemed that the college shred guitar community was largely in agreement in their disdain for TWS primitive style guitar and simple tunes with more feel than notes.

Like all technology that advances, music technology and pedagogy technology has advanced.
(Those who never lived near a guitar college may not grasp the full impact of 5000 kids all practicing the same shred lessons at the same time in order to be allowed to graduate. Drop in at the local guitar shop and hear the worker bees)
Making it hard to engineers (musicians in this case) to assemble the latest tech into salable products (music in this case), without throwing all the latest tech into the product.
If you make computer based music, new tech lets you stand behind your laptop and do almost nothing.
Boring.
If ypu make college guitar music, your professors groomed you to play stupendous endless solos AKA wankery that oddly drives women and many of the mature people out of the venue.
Boring.

The much maligned boomer crowd lived through the era when events converged that put acoustic guitars in the hands of a million kids who sat on park benches or at the beach singing and strumming simple folk/ blues/ pop/ rock/ beatles/ PP&M/ Dylan tunes.
Guitar became everyones instrument, portable, easy to learn, brings strangers together, cheap to buy, durable, a musical cultural revolution. That simpler use of guitar (including Ed Sullivan of course but not that alone) created the mass explosion of kids playing guitar and audiences wanting to hear them.

While i love awesome guitar chops in less commin cases where the player has enough imagination and taste to make that many notes musically interesting and compelling, not every player who can be taught to shred, has the imagination and taste to effectively carry it to and engage audiences.

I suppose what I'm saying is that Blues or guitar band music in general, needs to connect to the people more than needs to impress us with a million notes.
And again, one of my weaknesses is my love of a million notes.

I do have a strong sense of serving the music too though, which silences my guitar when my riffage is not needed by the music I serve.
 

Jazzcaster21

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I would say that Marcus King can certainly follow in SRV's footsteps. He's playing stuff that we've heard before but also putting his own spin on it and he's young. I would also add that while he's based in the language of blues he also has a few other harmonic tricks up his sleeve, which makes him exciting to hear (maybe not so much like lasagna as someone posted above ;)). Hopefully he doesn't succumb to the excesses that so many before him have and continues going strong. Plus, he can sing his ass off. Stevie wasn't the greatest singer but he made it work for what he did.

At one point after I started playing guitar, I went through both a Hendrix and SRV phase: Had the Strat, univibe, wah-wah and heavy strings, tuned down 1/2 a step. Eventually I moved on because there will only be one Hendrix and SRV. While I love to hear players who sound like either of those two I also love to hear players who sound like themselves - like Hendrix, SRV, Clapton, Beck, etc etc do/did - Every player who has their own sound now at one point in their development sounded like someone else. It's a natural process: imitation hopefully leads to innovation. However, there are too many players now who are happy sounding like someone else.
 

Jazzcaster21

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My understanding is someone is making a movie about Jerry Garcia with Jonah Hill playing Captain Trips. I haven't heard much about it lately, so maybe it's not still happening. I'd probably go see it, but I'm really skeptical about anyone really being able to play Jerry... Particularly given the legions of Deadheads from multiple generations at this point...

-Ray
I will believe it when I see it. I thought John Mayer joining up with the remaining Dead to form Dead and Co. was a crazy idea but it obviously worked (though I am not as much a fan as I was of the original GD).

So, while I think Jonah Hill playing Jerry makes ZERO sense to me, maybe in the end it will turn out to be the right choice?? IDK, with Martin Scorsese behind it I am hoping for a somewhat decent film.
 

bottlenecker

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PSA to everyone:
The blues is not simple or easy.

If you think it is, it's because you are doing it so right that for you it is simple and easy,
or more likely,
you don't understand it enough to know you're not doing it right.
 

Jazzcaster21

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There are so many weird and wonderful things surrounding "the blues" these days.
Some folks think the only "real" blues is the old gutbucket delta stuff played by long-dead sons of sharecroppers.
Muddy and Buddy and a whole host of other blues greats came north and west to spread the gospel and add electricity.
Still others dig the more contemporary upbeat/swing sounds from Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Austin, Tulsa, etc.
English rock musicians co-opted the blues as inspiration, which led to great bands like Led Zep, the Stones, and EC.
Blues DNA runs through most rock music from the '70s on, including J. Geils, Deep Purple, and Foghat to name a few.
The Blues Brothers were highly influential in bringing blues music to the populous, and also made a great movie.
All across this country there are "Blues Societies" where the faithful gather to keep the spark alive.
These organizations support working blues musicians by inviting them to play concerts and further spread the gospel.
Manufacturers put "Blues" in the name of guitars, amps, strings, and other musical items as a marketing ploy.
Blues tunes and blues-based rock tunes are showing up as music beds for TV and radio spots more and more.

So ...

Instead of being a blues snob and declaring certain branches of the family heretics, I prefer to embrace 'em all.
After all, this all started with call-and-response work songs forged under the sweltering delta sun.
Pretty darn amazing and pretty darn American and genuine if you ask me.
So whether it's Muddy or some freckle-faced kid who went on YouTube and figured out the minor pentatonic scale and played it through an OD pedal, it's all blues.
And long as it has a groove, deal me in. 😼


Yes sir. All 3 of these dudes have their own blues-based language.
 

Papanate

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Blues doesn't need anything - it will just stumble along with a core audience - and then probably crumble away slowly......
 

telemnemonics

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PSA to everyone:
The blues is not simple or easy.

If you think it is, it's because you are doing it so right that for you it is simple and easy,
or more likely,
you don't understand it enough to know you're not doing it right.
If I was one who implied Blues is simple I just groped gor words that came close and missed the mark.
What i meant was what hapoened when kids inspired to "play Blues" by Stevie copped the many notes played fast part but missed the rest of the more important parts.
So if i said simple i meant refined down to the deeply essential without a bunch of pointless drivel baffling audiences with bull crap.
Again, trying to address how Blues benefits from association with awesome chops when that is not the core and essence if Blues, even if it can be seen in some Blues.
ah,.. ok.




Im clearly failing in making any points, or maybe these sort of debates are by nature doomed to deteriorate into cutting up the larger concept into snippets that fail when held up alone.

Not saying Stevie didnt or couldnt play Blues.
Just saying SRV was more than just Blues.

Also please consider that in any engineering task including the engineering of song structure, creating a more simplified structure that performs the samefunctions, is harder than creating an overy complicated structure with lots of extra parts making up for flaws ir shortcomings of student level engineering.

Elegant engineering is a good term for creating effective complexity without resorting to extreme high parts count.

Blues is certainly complex, but needs not be complicated.
Complex is different from complicated.
Kids that learned Blues is a firm of shred, based on shred being the modern ruler we measure guitar players with, are not really directed to carry Blues as much as to carry shred.
Rather than cut a fragment, include the big picture of what kids AKA the next generation of guitar players saw of Blues in pop music because they were not going back into Blues history to study Blues.

To really see this I think we need to look away from our idealized idea of what could be and instead listen to a series of kids taking the lowest common denominator from SRV and thinking that is Blues.

The few kids who heard SRV and immediately hunted for all of Stevies influences, THEY would gain a deeper broader understanding of Blues. Deeper understaning AKA greater complexity.
This is really in the past now since we no longer have swarms of kids joining guitar forums asking how to sound like SRV, which was a thing when tonewood became a buzzword.

Anyone remember all those endless painful discussions?

Same thing happened when kids all tried to copy EVH by tapping.
Eddie and Stevie both got misinterpreted by kids wanting to be just like those masters.
 

Happy Enchilada

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If I was one who implied Blues is simple I just groped gor words that came close and missed the mark.
What i meant was what hapoened when kids inspired to "play Blues" by Stevie copped the many notes played fast part but missed the rest of the more important parts.
So if i said simple i meant refined down to the deeply essential without a bunch of pointless drivel baffling audiences with bull crap.
Again, trying to address how Blues benefits from association with awesome chops when that is not the core and essence if Blues, even if it can be seen in some Blues.

Im clearly failing in making any points, or maybe these sort of debates are by nature doomed to deteriorate into cutting up the larger concept into snippets that fail when held up alone.

Not saying Stevie didnt or couldnt play Blues.
Just saying SRV was more than just Blues.

Also please consider that in any engineering task including the engineering of song structure, creating a more simplified structure that performs the samefunctions, is harder than creating an overy complicated structure with lots of extra parts making up for flaws ir shortcomings of student level engineering.

Elegant engineering is a good term for creating effective complexity without resorting to extreme high parts count.

Blues is certainly complex, but needs not be complicated.
Complex is different from complicated.
Kids that learned Blues is a firm of shred, based on shred being the modern ruler we measure guitar players with, are not really directed to carry Blues as much as to carry shred.
Rather than cut a fragment, include the big picture of what kids AKA the next generation of guitar players saw of Blues in pop music because they were not going back into Blues history to study Blues.

To really see this I think we need to look away from our idealized idea of what could be and instead listen to a series of kids taking the lowest common denominator from SRV and thinking that is Blues.

The few kids who heard SRV and immediately hunted for all of Stevies influences, THEY would gain a deeper broader understanding of Blues. Deeper understaning AKA greater complexity.
This is really in the past now since we no longer have swarms of kids joining guitar forums asking how to sound like SRV, which was a thing when tonewood became a buzzword.

Anyone remember all those endless painful discussions?

Same thing happened when kids all tried to copy EVH by tapping.
Eddie and Stevie both got misinterpreted by kids wanting to be just like those masters.
So ... modern blues players then have ... shredibility, as opposed to credibility? AAAAAAAH! Somebody get me a beer!!!
 

Happy Enchilada

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I would say that Marcus King can certainly follow in SRV's footsteps. He's playing stuff that we've heard before but also putting his own spin on it and he's young. I would also add that while he's based in the language of blues he also has a few other harmonic tricks up his sleeve, which makes him exciting to hear (maybe not so much like lasagna as someone posted above ;)). Hopefully he doesn't succumb to the excesses that so many before him have and continues going strong. Plus, he can sing his ass off. Stevie wasn't the greatest singer but he made it work for what he did.
Good news and bad news.
Good news: I just got turned on to Marcus King, and became an instant admirer.
Bad news: His band will be HERE in Boise Friday ... and tickets are SOLD OUT.
I may have to sob into my beer a while ... 😭🍺
 

trev333

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there's a free blues festival on the Gold Coast over the weekend... it's 21st year...

they're expecting a few hundred thousand to check it out..
 

Peter Graham

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PSA to everyone:
The blues is not simple or easy.

If you think it is, it's because you are doing it so right that for you it is simple and easy,
or more likely,
you don't understand it enough to know you're not doing it right.

I disagree. The blues is very far from easy, but it is simple. Its simplicity derives from its underlying structures. Musically, its owes a certain debt to the European folk tradition, with which it shares that simplicity of structure. I don't know a great deal about the African music that lies behind the blues but that might also derive from a similarly simple folk tradition.

But that doesn't make the blues easy. The inherent simplicity of the framework allows acres of space for very personal expression. And it is that personal expression, manifested through the lyrics, vocal style or playing style of its proponents, that makes the blues such a powerful and dynamic musical force. What is more, that personal expression cannot be taught. It can only be lived and felt. This is why blues is not easy.

This also makes blues different from other musical genres, which can be taught, to a significantly greater degree. By way of example, I grew up listening to metal. Metal guitarists are perfectly capable of injecting emotion and feeling into their playing (and of course, the best ones do), but pantomime has always been a big part of metal. Part of the pantomime is - or has become - the ability to do lots of flash stuff up at the dusty end of the guitar neck. That flash stuff is technically difficult to do, but is less reliant on space than is the blues and much less reliant on intense personal expression.

I know you didn't like my gag about chords, but that gag was made out of affection, not mockery. This is all just my opinion and I fully and happily accept that many won't share it, but for me it is more difficult to be a credible punk guitarist than a credible metal guitarist. You can, given enough time and assuming you have some natural skill, learn how to play a fancy guitar solo (which is a key part of playing metal). By contrast, you can be taught the chords you need to write a punk song in about five minutes. Yet no-one can ever teach you how to write a two and a half minute, rage-filled anthem (which is a key part of punk). If you don't feel it, you can't do it.

So, I can play along with pretty much every song ever written by the Petrol Girls, the Damned or the Ramones. But I could never have written any of them. Same goes for the blues. One can copy Son House or Muddy Waters, but that isn't enough to make you a bluesman (or blueswoman).

None of this, incidentally, is an argument for blues exceptionalism. Neither is it intended to denigrate metal. I like the blues and I used to like metal, but what I really like is indie, EDM and low-fi droney stuff, with a sprinkling of folk music to taste. But it is to argue that simplicity can be a very Good Thing.
 

bottlenecker

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I disagree. The blues is very far from easy, but it is simple. Its simplicity derives from its underlying structures. Musically, its owes a certain debt to the European folk tradition, with which it shares that simplicity of structure. I don't know a great deal about the African music that lies behind the blues but that might also derive from a similarly simple folk tradition.

But that doesn't make the blues easy. The inherent simplicity of the framework allows acres of space for very personal expression. And it is that personal expression, manifested through the lyrics, vocal style or playing style of its proponents, that makes the blues such a powerful and dynamic musical force. What is more, that personal expression cannot be taught. It can only be lived and felt. This is why blues is not easy.

This also makes blues different from other musical genres, which can be taught, to a significantly greater degree. By way of example, I grew up listening to metal. Metal guitarists are perfectly capable of injecting emotion and feeling into their playing (and of course, the best ones do), but pantomime has always been a big part of metal. Part of the pantomime is - or has become - the ability to do lots of flash stuff up at the dusty end of the guitar neck. That flash stuff is technically difficult to do, but is less reliant on space than is the blues and much less reliant on intense personal expression.

I know you didn't like my gag about chords, but that gag was made out of affection, not mockery. This is all just my opinion and I fully and happily accept that many won't share it, but for me it is more difficult to be a credible punk guitarist than a credible metal guitarist. You can, given enough time and assuming you have some natural skill, learn how to play a fancy guitar solo (which is a key part of playing metal). By contrast, you can be taught the chords you need to write a punk song in about five minutes. Yet no-one can ever teach you how to write a two and a half minute, rage-filled anthem (which is a key part of punk). If you don't feel it, you can't do it.

So, I can play along with pretty much every song ever written by the Petrol Girls, the Damned or the Ramones. But I could never have written any of them. Same goes for the blues. One can copy Son House or Muddy Waters, but that isn't enough to make you a bluesman (or blueswoman).

None of this, incidentally, is an argument for blues exceptionalism. Neither is it intended to denigrate metal. I like the blues and I used to like metal, but what I really like is indie, EDM and low-fi droney stuff, with a sprinkling of folk music to taste. But it is to argue that simplicity can be a very Good Thing.

Your understanding of blues is fundamentally incorrect.
You are calling it simple because the harmony structure is simple, but it's not primarily about harmony. You're judging it by european standards, and that's a mistake.
Do you think indian classical music is simple because it has no chords at all?

Blues is microtonal melody music, that has adopted chords.

Blues can be taught. It was literally taught to everyone who played it, by someone. Do you think because juliard doesn't know how to teach it, that no one does?

Think about what's at the core of this idea, that blues can't be taught. Really think about where that comes from, and that's all I'll say about it.
 




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