Join my mailing list for the Blues Room news & Rewards

How did we get here in the music ? 

 

Good morning, Blues people. Today, I want to share a time from my life that was filled with confusion. The fucked up 1980's . The 1980s were a challenging period for me as a musician.

  The 1980s saw the rise of disco and electronic instruments. I was already smoking my guitar and blowing my harmonica, deeply immersed in the rhythms of blues and classic soul. But suddenly, a new wave of music took over – disco and rap. These genres were mostly electronic, with instruments replaced by synthesizers and keyboards. As a young musician, I felt out of place and disconnected. It was like the music world no longer needed people like me. It was a sad time for live musicians. The music made us dance but sounded like shit !

   I found myself on the dance floor more often than the stage. I became a big-time dancer, grooving to the beats but missing my guitar. Then came hip hop, which initially intrigued me with its poetic lyrics. I dabbled in early hip hop, but the genre quickly turned too vulgar for my taste. The cursing and the gangster mentality pushed me away. So, I put my guitar down and stepped away from music for quite a few years.

  One day, I ran into one of my old girlfriends, who handed me an old Yamaha G-55 guitar she had found in a house she had just rented. She knew about my love for music and gospel playing from our time together, so she thought I should have it. That old Yamaha, with its plastic strings rekindled something inside me.

  I took the guitar home, cut off the plastic strings, and replaced them with metal ones. The tension was too much for the old guitar, causing it to crack in the back. But I didn't care. I played that guitar for a long time, and it reignited my passion for music. Slowly, I started playing more and more, just enough to keep my skills sharp and entertain myself and those around me.

  Despite my renewed interest in playing, I never had the desire to become a professional musician or a touring artist. I simply enjoyed playing, and people seemed to enjoy listening to me. That was enough for me. It was never about fame or fortune; it has always been about the love of music.

  So, that's my story of coming through the challenging 1980s. Sometimes, life takes us away from our passions, but if we're lucky, something or someone can help us find our way back. I'll keep playing, sharing my music with those who care to listen, and living the bluesman's life. 

What do you think about the music from that era ?

Stay soulful,

When was your first solo gig ? 

Good morning, blues people !  Today,  I was thinking back to where it all began – my first paid gig. 

  My first attempt at making money with music was as a street performer in downtown Huntsville AL. Picture this: me, my guitar, and the open air. But, alas, the streets were quiet, and there weren't enough people around to make it worthwhile. I soon realized that downtown Huntsville wasn't bustling enough for a street musician to survive. So, I left that scene behind.

  Years went by, and opportunities in Huntsville were still scarce. Then, I joined a small acoustic trio with two fantastic musicians – Greg Sanders, who played pop music, and Jimmy Henderson, a Delta-style bluesman. Together, we combined our sounds into something unique, blending pop, Delta blues, and a touch of Motown and soul music. We called ourselves JRG, and we played at local coffee houses around town.

  But, as often happens, the trio eventually fell apart. We had a gig lined up at a local coffee house, and the owner was counting on us. When I told her the trio was no longer together, she was worried. "Somebody has to play," she said. “I've invited people.”

   I took a deep breath and asked, "If I come and play by myself, would you pay me as if I were the whole band?" To my surprise , she agreed. That night, I stepped into the spotlight alone, a bit nervous but excited. As I played, something magical happened. The crowd sang along, clapped, and had a great time. I had a ball too!

  When the night ended, the owner asked, "Will you come again next week?" Her request blew my mind. She wanted me back, solo! So, I returned, again and again. Eventually, I started playing at other places too. This was the beginning of my journey as an independent solo artist. It was around 1995, and those early gigs taught me so much about performing and entertaining a crowd on my own.

  From that point on, my shows evolved. Sometimes I worked with bands, and sometimes I performed solo. But that first solo gig was a turning point. It proved to me that I could hold an audience's attention and deliver an entertaining show all by myself.

  So, there it is – the story of my first paid gig. It’s a reminder that sometimes the best opportunities come from unexpected situations. Keep playing, keep pushing, and you never know where the music will take you.

Do you ever play solo ?

Eye Exams and New Beginnings 

 

Good morning Blues world ! Today, I did something I hadn't done in quite a while—I got my eyes checked. 

I was running a little late, but I made it just in the nick of time. This was my first visit to this place, and I was using my new retirement insurance. Can you believe it? I hadn't had an eye exam in 10 years! I've been wearing the same glasses so it was time for an update.

The girl who did my exam seemed pretty young—must've been in her 20s. Or maybe I'm just getting older. Anyway, she handled most of the exam before passing me off to the doctor for the final check.

 Dr. Malone, the eye doctor, wrapped things up and gave me a thumbs-up. He said my eyes were in good condition for someone my age, which was a relief to hear. I've got an astigmatism, but that's nothing new—had it all my life. He recommended that I come back in a year for a follow-up, which sounds good to me.

The facility was top-notch, well laid out, and the staff was friendly. Now I've got a new prescription, and it's time to find a place to get my new glasses made.

Do any of you have recommendations for where I can get some eyeglasses made? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Stay sharp and Lets keep the blues alive!

Real Stormy Monday this morning ! 

Good morning, blues fans! I’m glad to see the light of day after the rough night we had. Last night’s thunderstorms were something else, rolling through .By three o'clock in the morning, the sky was lighting up so much it looked like daylight outside.

  I picked up my cell phone and checked the local weather, and sure enough, there was a long line of storms moving in from one direction and another line coming from a different direction. It was a confusing mess of weather patterns dancing in the sky. What can you say? What can you do? Just pray and take shelter the best you can.

  Those thunderclaps were super loud, shaking the house and rattling the windows. The sound was so loud you could feel it in your bones. I’m sure the animals were just as shaken up as we were. The force of nature is humbling in times like these.

  But through it all, I’m thankful for the protection we had. Sometimes, all you can do is hunker down and trust that you’ll make it through the storm. We’re in that time of year when these kinds of storms are rolling through, so it’s always good to be prepared and try to stay safe.

  Now that the storm has passed, it’s time to make the most of Memorial Day. There’s a lot going on, and I’m looking forward to getting out and enjoying the day. Let’s make it a big one.

 

Pinto Beans all gone.. Damn ! 

Good morning, blues lovers!  I woke up with pino beans on my mind. Sometimes, there’s nothing like a good ol’ pot of home-cooked pinto beans to set your soul right. My dad used to love them too, so they always bring back memories.

  I decided to make some, so I headed to the store looking for some ham hocks. Found a pack at Walmart—three ham hocks for seven bucks! Grocery prices these days high as a mofo , am I right? But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do .

   The night before, I always set my beans to soak. Do you soak your pinto beans? Some folks swear it makes them cook better. Me, I’m on the fence. Sometimes I soak ‘em, sometimes I don’t. This time, I did. I let them sit overnight in a pot of water.

  Next morning, I got up and filled my crock pot with water, threw in a ham hock, and sprinkled in some seasoning salt. Didn’t have any broth on hand, so it was just plain water this time. Sometimes I use beef broth, but I kept it simple today. After adding a bit of bay leaves, I turned on the crock pot and let those beans do their thing .

  While the beans were cooking, I whipped up some cornbread. Now, let me tell you about my near kitchen disaster. I almost burnt my hand on the cast iron skillet! Note to self: always use a potholder, not a dish rag. My hand’s still a little tender, no blisters. 

  When I got home that evening, the beans were ready, and man, they smelled good. Paired them with the cornbread, and it was a meal fit for a blues king. I must’ve had three bowls yesterday and another two today. Nothing like a southern style meal to charge you after a day’s work.

So, what about you? Do you like pinto beans? Until next time, keep your kitchen safe, your beans tasty, and your soul full of blues.

Big ass Wind mills everywhere in the cotton field ! 

 

 Yep, you heard me right. Of all the things you'd expect to see in these parts, windmills weren’t even on my mind. But here they are, standing tall, changing the landscape. Ain't this some shit !

  Back in the day, this land was all about cotton fields. You'd see folks working hard, picking cotton and chopping under the Delta sun. But times have changed, and now, machines do most of the farming. And just when you thought technology had done its thing, along come these big ass wind turbines, like something out of a sci-fi movie. I reckon the farmers have found themselves a new crop—Big ass windmills sprouting up like corn .

  These wind turbines are a sight to behold. Every time I’m driving down Highway 61 from Memphis to Clarksdale, I can’t help but marvel at them. They’re so big , they make you do a double-take. It’s like the Delta got itself a set of blues  guardians, waving their arms in the wind.

   Every time I head down this highway, there are more and more of these things. They’re multiplying like rabbits! I guess energy technology is making its way to the Delta in a big way. These things are supposed to generate a lot of power and money, Maybe they’ll help these poor folks around here with their utility bills.

  I hope these wind turbines bring some good to the Delta. It’s amazing to see how the land is adapting and changing with the times. Who knew that the same fields that once grew cotton could now harness the wind?

So next time you’re cruising down Highway 61, keep an eye out for these mutherfuckers . They’re a symbol of progress, standing tall in the heart of the Delta.  

What you think about these giants ?

Meeting Ms. Charlotte Taylor: A Day to Remember 

  The night started off like any other, but it quickly turned into something magical when I met Charlotte Taylor. I was there to watch her perform,  her style is as engaging as it is laid-back. She has this incredible ability to draw you in with every strum of her guitar and every note she sings.

To my surprise and pleasure, she invited me to join her on stage. Not only did she let me play a few songs with her, but she also graciously lent me her guitar. It was an honor to be part of her set, and the real treat was watching her in action. Her effortless command of the stage and her instrument is awesome.

 I had the chance to chat with Charlotte and learn more about her fascinating background. She is from Little Rock, Arkansas, she’s been playing music for as long as she can remember. It’s clear that music isn’t just a part of her life; it’s woven into the fabric of her being.

She shared some stories about her time working with a record company in Memphis, leaving a trail of musical breadcrumbs for fans to follow. If you dig deep enough, you might stumble upon some of her music scattered across the world.

Charlotte was incredibly encouraging to me. Her kind words and insights were valuable, and I learned so much from her in a short time. She even delved into astrology, reading my zodiac sign and making me laugh with her spot-on observations. It was a fun, that shit cracked me up, we was laughing so hard.

While she’s often labeled a blues artist, Charlotte’s musical tastes are far-reaching. She appreciates all kinds of music.  Calling her just a blues artist feels too narrow; she’s a versatile musician with a love for many genres.

I can hardly wait to see Charlotte again and delve deeper into her world. I feel a strong connection with her, both musically and personally, and who knows? Maybe someday we’ll collaborate on something special.

Until then, I’ll keep the lessons she taught me close to my heart and look forward to our next encounter. Keep your eyes and ears open, blues fans—you never know when a night of music might turn into a memorable meeting with someone extraordinary.

 

I Had a fun time at the Crossroads 

  Good morning blues people im coming straight from the heart of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Last night was a blast, you all missed a good ol' time, that was the VIP party for the Women’s in Blues Festival.

 Things started off with a shindig. The second annual Women in Blues Festival is set for tomorrow, April 18, right behind Lavon's Restaurant in downtown Clarksdale. But last night, we got a little taste of what’s to come, and man, it was so sweet.

  Now, you know a blues party ain’t right without some spirits. Clarksdales Cat Head Vodka and Delta Dirt Distillery from Helena got your back. They were pourin' the good stuff, and you better believe I was first in line. Over at the Cat Head booth, they let us mix our own drinks. I threw together some lime, lemon, and a handful of rocks. Dropped a whole dang lemon in there too. —Hell Yeah.  It's a blues party! 

  Tom from Delta Dirt Distillery brought out his brand new Delta Roots Bourbon. It was his first batch, and let me tell ya, that stuff was so smooth it disappeared faster than a dollar at a dice game. If you missed it, keep your eyes peeled come summer for the second batch.

  But let's get to the funky stuff—the music. Angel and Cashes Juke Joint Duo started off with some raw  blues that got things movin'. These two got  a chemistry that’s hotter than Mississippi. Then, the Reverend Slim stepped up with his bass, laying down grooves so deep, you’d think you’d struck oil. The crowd was feelin' it, swayin' and groovin'..And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Lucius Spiller strutted on stage. That man sings like he's making a deal with the devil himself. Every note he hit was pure fire, and the crowd ate it up like Mama's home cookin'.

  Last night was the warm-up, baby. Tomorrow, we’re gettin' the main course with the Women’s Blues Festival. It’s all goin' down right behind Lavon's Restaurant, and if it’s anything like last night, it’s gonna be fire.

  If you're anywhere near Clarksdale, you best get down here. The music, the drinks, the people—it’s all part of the magic that makes this place the home of the blues.

Have you ever been to Clarksdale ?

Hit the Road Jack  

Good Morning Blues people . 72 degrees today. No reason not to go out for my morning walk. Nothing too exciting today. So I grabbed my walking stick and got busy. 

  I've been down this road many times, not much has changed. But I do see dump trucks passing by on the road. There's a new subdivision going in.  Greenbrier is a little community down the street from me. I hear they're building several hundred homes in that area. You will know that means they're gonna have to be a school somewhere and eventually I'm sure that these old country roads will have to be widened. 

   You can see the increase in traffic already. Out here on Swancott rd, but it's okay for walking. Kind of out in the country. I want to do two and a half miles today. 

 I had a talk with myself about drinking. Noticed I was drinking pretty good yesterday. But I enjoy drinking, especially peach Crown, that's my favorite drink and throw a little Fireball in there. Makes for a delicious drink. So last night I got my drink while sitting in the studio. 

  I'm enjoying my new Telecaster guitar.  I went back and played to a lot of old backing tracks and just stretched out playing guitar and enjoying myself. I think it was a good rehearsal. I didn't record it though. I'll record it the next time I do it. Why not?  

  I can see the marker down the road for three miles. I might start walking three miles instead of two and a half is not that much different. Might as well just add in that extra since I'm already close. I hear walking is good for you. I've been doing it for a while now. So I'll keep doing it. I think I'm better off doing it than not doing it. So I just keep going. I'm thinking about adding that other half a mile to make a three mile walk.

   I found out that my neighbor James also walks. I didn't know that until a few months ago. He said he'll do three miles or more. He looks at it like a job. What do you think about walking for exercise ?

 

 

Introducing " Jukie " my new guitar  

 Good morning Blues lovers . The other morning I was rushing and packing, getting ready for the festival, packing everything into the truck. I got over to the event and then realized that I didn't bring my guitar. Im like " Oh Shit ! I was so friggin embarrassed. I packed everything but my damn guitar and I hadn't been that drunk, I don't think so . But either way. Here I am at the festival and had to drive around 30 minutes to find a parking spot.

   Finally found parking and artist accommodation . I hated to go back to the hotel and I'd be late for my show. So here I go thinking about who I can borrow a friggin guitar from? I didn't worry about it too much. I'm sure there were a lot of guitars there. If someone would let me borrow one or rent one maybe. 

   On my way into the event I noticed a vendor on the street selling cigar box guitars and had a few regular guitars. One caught my eye. So I went back  When I came back. I asked the man to let me see that guitar. It was something unique about it. When I picked it up, I was surprised how light weight it was. It was a Telecaster squier simi hollow body. A unique guitar, I hadn't seen anything like that in years. I'm thinking that guitar is as old as me .

 He told me he put a lot of work into that guitar, new pickups and he wanted to take $350 for it. I said no, that's too much. I told him I needed one for my show coming up in the next 30 minutes. He said no he wouldn't back down off the price. So I went on into the venue. I talked with Mr. Big T Williams. Big T Williams. His show was after me.  T agreed to let me borrow his guitar. While I was waiting, I was still thinking about that. 

   I went back down to the vendor. I told him to let me play it again Sam. . I took the guitar and played it and I was impressed with how it felt. Mostly how lightweight it was and how all the notes rang true. He had done a fret job and set up on it. The string height and everything had been adjusted out. He'd done a good job on it. He's put a lot of work into that guitar. He explained to me about how he'd done the heads on it. And it became apparent he had worked on it. I liked it and I said well look. Let's make a deal.

   And that's we started deal making. wound up getting a gig bag and a little stomp box. That was so cool. I wasn't expecting that. So I named this guitar “ Jukie “  So I played the show with it. And it did well. I want to thank all of my fans who chipped in on it. Thanks for listening .

TIP JAR / DONATE