Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Home of the Blues

So the Memphis trip has come and gone. Diahn and I had an amazing time. We explored, had a big ass beer, listened to some soulful music, walked and talked, met some colorful people, ate barbecue, eggs and bacon, and then we went our separate ways, back to our families. And that was good. Really good. Going home after a nice break is always good. Because home is our anchor.

But leaving home is good, too. It's good to be reminded that there is a world outside of our walls, our children, our routines and that we're still very much a part of it. That we need to be a part of it in order to grow and stay vibrant. Otherwise, we become stagnant and sometimes, dull.

I have too much to say about my new love, Memphis. This post, however, is about the music...the Blues.

Last Friday, after braving the freakish snowstorm that blanketed the south, we met up at the Memphis airport and headed to the hotel, freshened up, and hurried down to the legendary Beale Street.

In the cold.

In the rain.

With no um-ber-ella...ella...ella...ella...ay, ay, ay, ay.

I've never been to Memphis. Beale Street has been nothing more than a song by Bruce Hornsby. But now, Beale Street has a piece of my heart and soul. It truly is all about the music. And oh my, the music. As luck would have it, our trip was the same weekend as the International Blues Challenge.

Each bar that we went into was like walking into church. There was no loud buzz of conversation, only the music. All eyes were directed at the stage, feet were tapping, eyes were sometimes closed, bodies swaying. It really took us by sweet surprise.

These two gentlemen, known as Mountain Men, won our hearts. They sang a rendition of "We Shall Overcome" that brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my spine. You can hear it over at Diahn's blog.

What's so amazing to me is that the one on the harmonica, Barefoot Iano, is from Australia and the one playing guitar and singing, Mr. Mat, is from France. The Blues truly are international.

I was moved and inspired. My soul was stirred by this form of music, born primarily in the Deep South to chase away the "blue devils".

Here a couple of others we heard that night.

This gentlemen above, I wish I had his name but didn't catch it, was quite inspiring to one particular lady. She danced alone throughout his entire set. I wish I had joined her, but I hadn't had enough libations to muster up my dancing courage. Maybe next year.

But these guys...

They won our hearts.

They are my latest obsession. I came home and bought their CD, Spring Time Coming.

I don't claim to be old
And I have no desire
To get there too soon
But this story must be told

The blues before my time
they tear me down and then
They fill my heart and make me whole
The blues before my time

Most just say it's just a sadness
but they don't really know
that the blues is just a mirror
Of the way we live and how we love

The blues before my time...

If it's crying that I'm needing
I can do it with the blues
Then when I through I'll cry with joy
And put on my dancing shoes

The blues before my time...

I've never been downtrodden
For fault of being black
But those who've gone and left this legacy
It's them I'd like to thank

~Blues before my time~


Linda said...

Well, you went during a festival! That explains the huge big love! Beale street is one of my favorite places on earth, during a music festival (said with emphasis) ... Beats Bourbon Street and Sixth (Austin) all to pieces!
So glad you guys had such a great time.

Dan Kent said...

I really loved the music in the video! I just know I would love Memphis.

Mark said...

Wow, never thought of going there, but I just put it on my list. My kind of get a way. I bet you guys had a ball. And the timing was perfect.

Brian Miller said...

nice...this sounds like a lot of fun...love live music...and bet the blues were sweet...