Friday, April 18, 2014

The Blues

I love the Blues. And I'm not talking about bluesy rock, though I obviously like that as well. I mean real blues. Country blues, Delta blues, even Chicago blues. I'm not claiming to be an expert on any of it, but I do tend to listen to blues almost like going home. I think I always have. It just fits with what I respond to in music. And to me, the purest distillation of the blues is found in one song. I'm not saying it's my favorite, but it's hard to hear this and not understand the blues, without an actual word being sung.


"Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground," was actually included in the Voyager space probe, among classical pieces by Bach and Beethoven, as a representation of humanity to any alien culture that might one day discover the probe. But even without such a lofty and far reaching connection, the song clearly connects to a sense of heartache and pain that Blind Willie Johnson's moans drill into your very soul. It's the sound of crying in a way that you never want to cry, but when you do, because you will, because we all do, you'll be glad for this song to remind you that you are not alone and that's it's ok to let it out.When my dad passed away, this is a song that stood out to me in a way that it hadn't before, for that very reason. The blues can be a lot of things, and they aren't actually all about pain and suffering. But what the blues ultimately is, is the true soul of Man. The day to day grind of life, no matter what that might be. Whether you're pumping water out of dirty well or stuck in traffic on the way home to see your kids after a long day of thankless office work. Existence in all its facets. So it's actually quite appropriate that a form of music and a song that breaks it down to it's most basic structural and emotional elements, would be sent out into the cosmos. The Blues is heart. The Blues is soul. The Blues is love. The Blues is life. The Blues is everything. And everything is the Blues.

No comments:

Post a Comment