Livin’ the Blues and Payin’ Dues

Everybody gets the blues. If you enjoy playing this uniquely American genre of music, I applaud you. The blues and American Jazz have influenced the world’s music and that is a good thing. Want to make a living playing the blues? Guess what? You can!

Hardcore advocates of this music have never abandoned the blues and never will. There is always a place to play the blues. From the Deep South to Chicago to Dallas, to both coasts, people will come out at night to hear the Blues.Your job keeping your band booked playing the blues will not be that difficult if you have two things in place:

First, you have to be good. People think playing the blues is the easiest form of music to play. Anyone who ever picked up a guitar learned the 12 bar blues. But there is something that the crowd instinctively picks up on and that is soul. You have got to have the heart of the blues in your fingers. You can only do that with living the blues and playing night after night in every run down or uptown joint you can find. You have to be willing and enjoy playing down dirt road hide-a-ways, catfish houses, BBQ shacks, any place there is electricity and people is a good place to set up and play the blues. You have to pay dues. The people will know when you are paying your dues and they will love you if you have practiced your chops and love what you are doing.

Second, you have to love people. The blues is people music. You can not fake this. In all the years I have played I have come to notice that country music and blues crowds hunger for the love you can exude from the stage. They want to relate to you. If you love them and what you are doing you will succeed. People want to know that someone cares. They feel this in the music you play. Believe it or not, music is so powerful that you can instantly relate to or alienate yourself by the chords you play. Simple blues has so much down to earth, hardcore soul that with the first note out of that worn out old Gibson ES 335 people will tap their feet, touch their loved one on the arm and have this smile on their face that says, “I’m home.”

BOLA TANGKAS