Bluesmen and a bottle of bourbon

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, March 25, 2011

There are some nights where the only thing you can do is sip on bourbon and listen to voices like Junior Kimbrough and T-Model Ford stomp and pluck, wail and moan about much harder times than you've ever experienced. Lots of musicians play the Blues, but there's something about the Blues that enables a listener to decipher the truth from the bullshit.

The guys who've actually lived through seeing family or friends lynched. Who have been to jail. Who have lost everything (if they ever had anything to lose). Or, in the case of T-Model, who have killed a man. These true Bluesmen reach out and slap you in the face. They say, "Look, son. You ain't seen nor been through shit. But, even if you seen a bit a trouble in your life, I know what you're feelin'."

And they play it. They take every bit of heartache and string it across their guitars like sinew. Grab death by the throat and stretch him across a snare drum to beat him down before he beats them. They stomp with heavy heels into pine floorboards in a smokey juke joint on a soggy Mississippi Summer night. Keeping time with every beat of their heart closer to the last.

It's more than music. The Blues feeds off of human sorrow. Devours it. It will suck every bit of heartache and pain out of the listener, chew it up and spit it back out in the form of hypnotizing rhythm. There's been more than one occasion where I've caught myself moving to its sound. Letting it roll down over me like river water, brushing every bit of grime and grit from my day.

Tonight is just one of those nights. A bottle of Maker's Mark, a few Blues albums and myself. I only wish I could be somewhere deep in Mississippi or Georgia. Down some forgotten back road that the tourists don't know about. Sitting at a bar sipping Southern whiskey. Watching bodies dance like hypnotized snakes in the low light of a juke joint on a hot Summer night. Sit and sip the burn while a true Bluesman sweats blood, pouring his life out onto the stage.

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