Old-time blues, acoustic blues, deep blues, traditional blues, pre-war blues, folk blues, primitive blues or Country blues, it has many names, but in its essence it is the pure, ethereal, original music of rural African-Americans that originated in the Southern USA during the 1920s and 1930s. Today, people of all ethnicity and origins play it worldwide. The blues has traveled the globe and found kindred musical souls, celebrating the commonality of the human spirit.
This website has one simple message: The acoustic blues is alive and well in the 21st Century – nothing more, nothing less. We believe that the musicians included here are “among the best” of today’s acoustic, folk and country blues scene, musicians who are keeping the traditions alive while helping the old-time blues progress and stay vibrant. The musicians included are predominately “traditional” and “acoustic” performers. That definition is applied with an open and liberal outlook. Selection is inclusive without regards to race, nationality or stylistic preference.
We are just trying to turn people on to great music. That’s all. We are unabashedly preservationist and love the pure, traditional blues; but, we also include musicians that are playing a new acoustic blues.
That’s the only narrative we are trying to promote. It’s about the music.
Yours truly, Frank Matheis, Publisher
There were no “hard lines” drawn as to the selection criteria, but a few prerequisites were established:
The first criteria was that a selected musician should primarily perform and record acoustically meaning with a hollow body acoustic guitar, banjo or mandolin rather than an electric instrument with wired pick-ups. The classification “acoustic blues” in itself is problematic. Some musicians stay true to the genre consistently, while others swing in both electric and acoustic. Therefore, in order to qualify, a musician must be actively performing acoustic blues as a consistent element of his/her shows.
The musicians represented in this website incorporates a light-hearted, liberal approach to many styles, musical heritages and directions without imposing severe restrictions based on what constitutes “real blues” or “traditional blues” based on some narrow concept. Nor is there a litmus test on blues-purity.
Living/Active and Contemporary
The focus is on today’s acoustic blues scene and musicians who are presently active in recording and performing. The “old-vanguard” is held in high esteem and reverence, but the emphasis here is not on historical record. There are many blues anthologies who pay tribute and due respect to the last living originals. The effort is to highlight the next generation.