I'm a bluesman moving through a blues-soaked America, a blues-soaked world, a planet where catastrophe and celebration- joy and pain sit side by side. The blues started off in some field, some plantation, in some mind, in some imagination, in some heart. The blues blew over to the next plantation, and then the next state. The blues went south to north, got electrified and even sanctified. The blues got mixed up with jazz and gospel and rock and roll.
You see, there's some blues for folks ain't never had a thing, and that's a sad blues... but the saddest kind of blues is for them that's had everything they ever wanted and has lost it, and knows it won't come back no more. Ain't no sufferin' in this world worse than that; and that's the blue we call 'I Had It But It's All Gone Now.
Blues for me is having things not go your way - life, love, job, money, ... It is not about the oppression of my ancestors, who were trying to get back at the overseers. Blues is different for my generation.
The sound of the blues, rhythm and blues, country music, is what we lived for, black and white alike. It gave you strength to sit on one of those throbbing Allis-Chalmers tractors all day if you knew you were gonna hear something on the radio or maybe see a show that evening.
Owning the Blues has been a wonderful life experience for our family. We'll miss the thrills of arriving on game night, the big wins, the loyal fans and the best people in the world -- and that's hockey people -- the staff, players, coaches, trainers and everyone associated with the game. We fell in love with hockey and we'll always love the Blues.
I stumbled on this little scene. And little by little, that scene took over my life, ... You could make a living being a blues musician. There were a lot of clubs where you could play this type of music every night. And a lot of roots rock clubs, and bands like the Holmes Brothers, Chris Whitley and Blues Traveler playing opposite sides of the street corner. And a lot of camaraderie. Nobody was thinking of record deals, so there wasn't any feeling of competition.
The Runaway Five's obvious influence is The Blues Brothers. During localization, their black and white suits were made more colorful to avoid legal action from Universal Pictures or the film's producers. When I told my wife Aviva about this, she admitted she had never seen The Blues Brothers film. Having grown up on a steady diet of Saturday Night Live-spawned movies, I told her that her innocence here was blasphemous. That night, we marveled together at James Brown's hair.
The blues is relevant today because when we look down through the corridors of time, the black American interpretation of tragicomic hope in the face of dehumanizing hate and oppression will be seen as the only kind of hope that has any kind of maturity in a world of overwhelming barbarity and bestiality. That barbarity is found not just in the form of terrorism but in the form of the emptiness of our lives - in terms of the wasted human potential that we see around the world. In this sense, the blues is a great democratic contribution of black people to world history.
If music serves to convey feelings through the interaction of physical gestures and sound, the musician needs his brain state to match the emotional state he is trying to express. Although the studies haven't been performed yet, I'm willing to bet that when B.B. King is playing the blues and when he is feeling the blues, the neural signatures are very similar. (Of course there will be differences, too, and part of the scientific hurdle will be subtracting out the processes involved in issuing motor commands and listening to music, versus just sitting on a chair, head in hands, and feeling down.) And as listeners, there is every reason to believe that some of our brain states will match those of the musicians we are listening to.