Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tangled up in Blue

What is it about blues music? Is it the unabashed masculinity of the slow beats, or the honesty of the words that shine a light on pain and loss, or maybe its the power of the bass and the singer's voice stripping life back to the basics?

For many I've spoken to, hearing songs flavoured with grief, regret, acceptance and a touch of hope is a relief from the sugary bubble-gum pop on the airwaves. Blues lyrics are written from experience, and tell of a life lived, as opposed to the fantasy world of pop divas.

For men, hearing the truths that they have lived through being voiced by other men is liberating. The feeling that we have a voice, and can be heard among all the overly sweet offerings of manufactured plastic pop strikes deep into our spirit.

Some people have told me that listening to blues music isn't wise, as I'm subject to depression and when it hits, it hits hard. All I know is, blues songs tell a story that is familiar to me, stories that I can own. I don't feel dragged down, I feel found, understood and accepted.

And yes, I'm speaking from a guy's point of view, knowing full well that blues is not gender specific, and women can claim their fair share of wonderful blues numbers, many of which I also enjoy. The voices of Etta James, Deborah Coleman, Erja Lyytinen, Eve Monsees, Geeshie Wiley, Irma Thomas, Jessie Hemphill and Joanna Connor are also voices of honesty and strength. 

Yet men need to hear from other men. Men need to hear straight truth, and need to know that they are not alone in troubles. 

So bring on the blues, they can actually lift your spirits :)