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Blues music is one of the most popular music genres in the United States.This music genre originated in the late 19th and early 20th century, tracing its roots back to the African-American communities in the US.
The blues music genre has a rich history that continues to evolve and inspire musicians today. This article explores the history of blues music and five contemporary blues artists you should check out.
Blues Music and the Mississippi Delta
Blues music began in Mississippi in the late 19th century. It was created from the African-American experience to express the struggles and hardships of life in the rural South.
Initially, blues music in Mississippi was played on acoustic guitars and harmonicas with call-and-response style lyrics.
The Mississippi Delta formed a fertile ground for the growth of blues, as it was home to many African Americans who worked on cotton plantations. These individuals lived in poverty and endured discrimination from white plantation owners.
To let go of their emotions, the African Americans composed songs about their love stories, everyday struggles, and the realities of life. Blues music also became a significant part of their religious culture, finding its way into churches.
Over time, the blues music genre spread from the Mississippi Delta to other parts of the US. In the 1950s and 1960s, it significantly influenced jazz, rock, and roll music genres.
5 Contemporary Blues Artists to Check Out
Gary Clark Jr.
Gary is a Texas-based singer, guitarist, and songwriter hailed by many music lovers as one of the most terrific young blues artists of his generation. His music draws from various influences, from rock to soul.
Fans worldwide love Clark for his blistering guitar solos, electrifying performances, and powerful vocals. His critically acclaimed albums include “This Land,” “Blak and Blu,” and “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.”
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Hailing from Clarksdale, Mississippi, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is a blues guitarist and singer who began his career playing guitar at a younger age. Ingram draws his music from the Delta blues tradition and features elements of hip-hop, rock, and funk elements in his songs.
Ingram’s first album, “Kingfish,” released in 2019, reached number one on the Billboard Blues Chart. It also won a nomination spot for the Best Contemporary Blues Grammy award.
However, it was Ingram’s second album, “662,” that saw him bag his first Grammy Award. Many music fans see Ingram as the future of the blues.
Shemekia Copeland is the daughter of legendary Texas-based blues guitarist Johnny Copeland. She began her career at a younger age, performing as an opening act on her father’s tours.
Today, Shemekia Copeland has established her name as the most popular contemporary blues artist. She has produced ten albums, including “Turn the Heat Up,” “Talking to Strangers,” and “Uncivil War,” which have won her numerous awards.
Bob Corritore is a Chicago-born artist hailed by many as one of the most hardworking contemporary blues artists. Besides singing, Bob is also a bandleader, producer, harmonica player, club owner, and radio host.
Corritore drew inspiration from some of the most prominent blues artists, including Muddy Waters, Big Walter Horton, and Caret Bell. He has produced several albums alongside other artists, including “All-Star Blues Sessions,” his first release.
Fantastic Negrito is an Oakland-based singer and songwriter whose music spans R&B, blues, and roots. Born Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, Negrito started as an amateur performing in local clubs and venues.
Negrito is loved by many for his soulful lyrics. His 2016 album, “The Last Days of Oakland,” won him a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues.