Aug. 22, 2012 - Issue #879: Is The Party Over?
Fri, Aug 24 (8:30 pm)
Part of the Edmonton Blues Festival
Blues music is all about speaking the truth, and that truth doesn't have to be melancholy.
"It's uplifting. Blues is about the spirit of keeping on, keeping on and no matter how bad it is, we can get through this," says blues trailblazer Charlie Musselwhite over the phone from Dallas, TX. "When you're down it's your comfort and when you're up it's your buddy."
Musselwhite has been a groundbreaking force in the world of blues music since the '60s, with more than 30 albums to his credit. He didn't set out to be a musician, but has become a synonymous name with blues culture through his personal, heartfelt lyrics inspired by his life. He's captivated generations of fans since a musician by the name of Muddy Waters heard his harmonica chops and asked him to sit in on performances with him. He's worked with some of the most influential names in music, but admits he's not quite sure how it all turned out so well.
"It's a mystery to me," he laughs. "I just keep getting up every day and doing the best I can with the best possible attitude."
No matter what status Musselwhite's career has reached, he considers himself a lifelong learner of the blues and life in general. He reads constantly, mostly non-fiction, and when he does indulge in a novel, it's got a historical context. In addition to the knowledge he absorbs through books, Musselwhite is fascinated with languages and learning what he can about other cultures.
"The world's an interesting place and life is short, so I want to learn all I can," Musselwhite says, later adding that one of the most valuable lessons he's learned throughout his life is that the world would be a dismal place if it wasn't for love.
After more than 43 years in the music indusry, Musselwhite doesn't have any intention of slowing down. He recently recorded a live album in Clarksdale, Mississippi during a benefit for the Delta Blues Museum music school, which is currently in the mixing and mastering stages. He also makes a guest appearance on every song but one on Ben Harper's new album Get Up, due out in January.
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