Blues

11:50am

Fri February 22, 2013
Live in Concert

Robert Belfour: Live In Concert

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:56 am

Mississippi blues guitarist Robert Belfour performs a special show at WXPN's World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
Joe del Tufo for WXPN

The 74-year-old Mississippi blues guitarist Robert Belfour possesses a deep, earthy tone which makes his live performances enthralling and compelling. Belfour has been playing since childhood in the Mississippi hill country around Red Banks (just south of Memphis, Tenn.), where he picked up his father's guitar and learned to play. When his father died, the burden of supporting the family fell largely on the 13-year-old. He went into construction work in Memphis, playing blues on the side when there was time.

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2:03am

Thu January 31, 2013
Music Interviews

Ben Harper And Charlie Musselwhite Get Muddy

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 1:12 pm

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite's new collaborative album is titled Get Up!
Danny Clinch Courtesy of the artist

Ben Harper grew up roaming the aisles and restoring guitars at his family's music store, the Claremont Folk Music Center. Going on its 60th year of business, the storefront in Southern California is where Harper first discovered the harmonica playing of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite.

"We had Charlie's records stacked high at my family's store and at my house," Harper tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

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10:41am

Fri January 18, 2013
A Blog Supreme

5 Blues Songs That Feel Your Midwinter Chill

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 10:21 am

Muddy Waters, c. 1979.
Keystone Getty Images

In the Northern Hemisphere, January is typically the coldest month of the year. If we can somehow drag ourselves through the month, things will begin to turn around and we'll be on the road to springtime. But January often feels as if it'll never end.

So as we slog through the cold rain and snow, awaiting January's demise, here are five blues songs to help get us through the winter.

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4:27pm

Thu January 17, 2013
World Cafe

Rev. John Wilkins On World Cafe

Rev. John Wilkins of Memphis.
Courtesy of Andy Modla

We couldn't leave Memphis without a taste of the blues from gospel-blues singer and preacher Rev. John Wilkins. He's the son of Rev. Robert Wilkins, who wrote "Prodigal Son," a song famously covered by The Rolling Stones on Beggars Banquet.

Here, we've got a performance by Rev. John Wilkins with his band — and his daughters on backing vocals. During our interview, Wilkins spoke about his faith and his father, and even sings a version of "Prodigal Son" himself.

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5:03pm

Wed December 26, 2012
World Cafe

Bonnie Raitt On World Cafe

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:11 pm

Bonnie Raitt's new album is titled Slipstream.
Marina Chavez

Bonnie Raitt is a blues-rock legend with nine Grammys and five platinum albums under her belt. Her rootsy and passionate take on everything blues — combined with her intimate understanding of composition, deft slide-guitar skills and soulful vocals — helped Raitt become an icon.

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5:01pm

Fri December 14, 2012
World Cafe

Gary Clark Jr. On World Cafe

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 4:58 pm

Gary Clark Jr.
Courtesy of the artist

Gary Clark Jr.'s new album Blak and Blue is his major-label debut, but the blues guitarist is hardly a newcomer. Clark made his first album at 17, and by then he'd already spent several years hanging out in the blues clubs of Austin, Texas.

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1:03am

Sat November 17, 2012
Music Interviews

Vintage Trouble: Rock 'N' Roll Finds Its Soul

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 7:48 am

Vintage Trouble recently reissued its 2010 debut, The Bomb Shelter Sessions.
Courtesy of the artist

Vintage Trouble has enjoyed a pretty quick rise since forming just two years ago.

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4:17pm

Thu October 25, 2012
Music Interviews

Gary Clark Jr.: A Blues Wunderkind Grows Up, Breaks Out

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 9:05 am

Gary Clark Jr.'s new album is called Blak and Blu.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

It's been a while since pop-music writers have heaped praise on a blues guitarist as the next big thing. But that's what's happened with Gary Clark Jr., who's just put out his first full-length album on a major label. It's called Blak and Blu.

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12:49pm

Fri October 19, 2012
Music Reviews

Gary Clark Jr.: A Raucous Blues Shout

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:49 pm

Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak and Blu is an eclectic romp through the blues.
Frank Maddocks

On his major-label debut Blak and Blu, you can hear the roar in Gary Clark Jr.'s blues guitar, and in his vocal throughout "Bright Lights." It's one of the few straight-up blues songs on what is essentially an introduction to one of the most highly praised young blues guitarists in recent times. While Clark comes out of a blues tradition, he's also a twentysomething who's taken in all of contemporary music.

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3:45pm

Tue October 9, 2012
Music Reviews

Shemekia Copeland Embodies The Blues On '33 1/3'

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 3:25 pm

Shemekia Copeland's new album is titled 33 1/3.
Sandrine Lee Courtesy of the artist

Shemekia Copeland says she didn't really find her singing voice until her teen years, when her father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, began suffering from health issues. On her new album, 33 1/3, she finds a different kind of voice — one that's eager to participate in a national dialogue.

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