The Long Road Blues is my pursuit of live old school, Mississippi Delta, porch Blues that date back to the 1920's to the 1960's in the land where it started. Searching to play in the Juke Joints that are left. Play in the towns and on the streets where past Juke Joints existed. Play for locals gathered under shade trees along the road, who remember the old sounds, the Bluesmen and the scenes.
For them I play mostly lap slide guitar on a 1966 Stella and a 1970 Stella 12 string guitar, instruments that were used in the day to get that sound, beyond what modern instruments can deliver. Their sounds help make what I call the porch Blues come alive. Last year got a 6 string old style Recording King parlor guitar from Ronnie at Bluestown Music guitar shop in Clarksdale. Some harmonica and a gut stringed, fret less minstrel banjo is sometimes thrown into the mix.
The road trip started in the summer of 2016 and the spring the fall of 2017 and continues now the Spring of 2018.I'm Traveling the Delta seeking the Blues, places, people and playing.
Sadly, most of the old Bluesmen have passed. But I have been fortunate to meet and listen to some of them. And meet folks and some relatives that knew, grew up with or played with a few of the Legends, like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Skip James, Jack Owens, Lightnin Hopkins, Willie Dixon . . .
I've been fortunate to have met some key people that keep the Mississippi Delta thriving localy like Teddy in Zachery, Lousiana, Red in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mr. Bobby Whalen, Indianola, Mississippi, Mr. Jimmy Duck Holmes, Bentonia, Mississippi, Mr. Walter Cooper, Sallis, Mississippi, Mr Henry Grip, 98 in Bessemer Alabama, and further North up the River in Chicago, Freddie Dixon and the Orginal Willie Dixon Chicago Blues Allstar Band and others. A common thread is that they love the way back sounds. The old porch Blues sound open doors, hearts, moments. Dancing, hooting and hollarin still happen in the heat, under the shade trees and in the Juke Joints. The music can still drive to higher levels, as it should be, like when it all started.
I grew up with early Blues in the late 1950 and 1960's as a kid near D.C., listening to the DC WOOK FM station, the Night Hawk show. The Night Hawk's "If you think your heart can take it, come fly with me" lead to Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, Blind Limon Jefferson, Blind Wille McTell, Elmore James, Leadbelly and the like, which was the tale end of back in the day (I had no idea). Their heartfelt, haunting music got me started on the guitar in 1959 at 13 trying to figure out what those sounds were. Eventually college and working took most of my time, traveling the Americas as an Metals Exploratioin Geologist for 47 years, but playing when I could, always went back to the early Blues.
Now as an old man traveling with the Blues still in the headlights, the Mississippi Delta is on my mind and under the wheels. The Bluesmen, juke owners, people in the Delta are open, free, gracious..... and listening. They let me see a bit of where all the Blues came from. The first hand accounts of many who have passed, directly from their old friends, some who used to play with them provide a connection. All remember hearing those early sounds.
Being able to walk through the living museum of some of the first Bluesmens and their performances on YouTube, a living museum, provides some of the lites in the mirror down the long road. I camp by the River and in the cotton fields mostly. And at night the Youtube performances playing out there are haunting. The pioneer Alan Lomax and those who followed him, have opened the old spirit world up directly and are a solid part of the legacy
I'm trying to preserve the performance sounds and scene in my playing and approach. Have posted some of my music for you to enjoy (Originals, Covers). The old porch sounds of the early blues is what I seek.
Enjoy and hope to see you on the road somewhere this year.
Vic Chevillon, Gulfport, Mississippi 26Mar18