The Timeless Appeal of Blues Music
Many of us have a tendency to associate blues music with very old singers. In a way it makes sense, since this is considered pain and suffering on music notes. It is supposed to be sung from experience and have the most touching songs spring from real and raw feelings. Blues music is a form of coming to terms with life’s lows, something more likely for once a person who has gathered more life experience. So could younger people have lived enough or have felt enough to sing good blues music? The answer is in the rising number of artists who either please their audiences with covers, remakes or with their own personal creations.
8 Young Blues Musicians You Need to Be Listening to
1. Norah Jones
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Photo credit: [email protected]
Image description: Norah Jones during a live performance at the Michigan Theater
Norah Jones is a 37 year old singer and songwriter who started her career in 2002 with the launch of her first solo album, Come Away with Me. The album was a hit. It sold in 26 million copies and brought Jones five Grammy Awards. The artist is now at her sixth album, released in October 2016. She has a total of nine Grammy awards and she sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Apart from the blues, her music has jazz, soul, country, folk and pop influences.
2. North Mississippi Allstars
Video description: North Mississippi Allstars video for the ”Meet Me in the City” song
The North Mississippi Allstars band was founded in 1996. Luther Dickinson, the vocalist, guitarist and lowebow player, his brother, Cody Dickinson at drums, keyboard and electric washboard, and Chris Chew at the electric bass guitar, make up the band. Their first release was in 2001 and it brought them the Blues Music Award. Their 2013 album, World Boogie Is Coming, features some amazing appearances of Alvin Youngblood Hart, Lightning Malcom and Duwayne and Garry Burnside.
3. Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Kenny_Wayne_Sheperd_2005.jpg
Image description: Kenny Wayne Shepherd performing live in 2005
Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a 39 year old American blues singer and songwriter. He has released 7 albums, out of which three went platinum. The first two albums, Ledbetter Heights and Trouble Is… are among his most successful. Seven of his singles have made it to the top and he holds the record for the longest-running album on the Blues Billboard chart.
4. Damon Fowler
Image source (still from video footage): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1z5MEY7V2M
Image description: Damon Fowler performing at the Blast Furnace Blues Festival
American electric blues and blues rock singer, guitarist and songwriter Damon Fowler was born in Florida. The artist has 6 albums, of which three are self released and three are under the Blind Pig label. The 2009 album, Sugar Shack, has been very well received by critics and audiences. Although very much blues based, his work is influenced by country, R&B and swing music as well.
5. Gary Clark Jr.
Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Gary_Clark,_Jr._2013.jpg
Image description: Gary Clark Jr. performing live in Chicago at the 2013 North Coast Music Festival
Gary Clark Jr. was born in Austin, Texas in 1984. He is probably one of the most appreciated blues singers of his generation, having received the title of “Best Young Gun” from Rolling Stone magazine in 2011. You can easily recognize him as his musical trademarks are a distorted guitar sound and a very smooth voice. He has released four studio albums.
6. The Black Keys
Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Blackkeys022011.jpg
Image description: The Black Keys band performing at The Chelsea in Las Vegas
American garage rock, blues rock and indie rock band, the Black Keys was formed in 2001 in Ohio. Dan Auerbach is the guitarist and vocalist and Patrick Carney is the drummer. The duo has released a total of 8 albums between 2002 and 2014. They are said to have taken traditional blues elements and incorporated them in a more modern setting. Their sixth album, the 2010 Brothers, came in second for the Rolling Stone 2010 Best Albums but won them a Grammy Award.
7. Derek Trucks
Image description: Derek Trucks performing at the Hard Rock Café in 2009
Derek Truck is a member of the Allman Brothers Band, of the Derek Trucks Band and of the Tedeschi Trucks Band which he formed together with his wife. He is seen as one of the best guitarists of the contemporary blues scene, even according to the Rolling Stone magazine. He appeared in the magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarist of all Times twice, being on the 81st position in 2003 and on the 16th position in 2011. Also in 2011, he won a Grammy for the Revelator album released as a member of the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
8. Quinn Sullivan
Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/QuinnSullivan.jpg
Image description: Quinn Sullivan performing in 2013
Quinn Sullivan was born in 1999 in Massachusetts. He is a very talented guitarist who has caught the public eye ever since he was six years old and he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show. He has since been performing on stage with Buddy Guy and BB King and in some of the most popular music venues in New York and Chicago. He appeared on Oprah, on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and he did his own set at the Lollapalooza festival in 2009. He is one of the youngest blues and rock singers of his generation. He already has three studio albums, released in 2011 (Cyclone), in 2013 (Getting There) and in 2016 (Midnight highway).
The fact that the blues is a timeless genre has been shown by all these young artists. They have proved more than able to carry on the blues tradition and to perform on stage along with the biggest musicians of the genre. Many of them bring something new to the table, so that future blues generations can be even more inspired.
These 8 bands and artists have set their minds to proving that blues is not a genre for the old, but one for the very talented. Want to see who are the ones carving their names in blues music history?