Rory is a talented guitarist playing slide guitar and vocalist whose career has lasted over 40 years.
For some, the blues is a musical genre. For Rory Block, it’s a lifestyle.
While that may sound like hyperbole, Block’s fascination with the blues began at age 15 and has stayed with her for nearly five decades since.
“It’s really a personal matter and it’s very hard to tell other people how to love something that you love,” Block said. “It’s just something that sounds so beautiful, so soulful, so powerful. All those things that drew me to it, in the beginning, are the same things that have been such a part of me for so long.” (Montgomery Advertiser)
Blues is a musical genre known as the folklore of African-American musicians. Its origins are associated with the southern states of the USA, that is the region conventionally called the “deep south”. The very name of the genre (sadness, despair) is related to its nostalgic form, also in the textual layer.
Blues pieces touch male-female relationships as well as feelings and emotions (love, loneliness, faithfulness, jealousy). However, blues performers often sing about freedom, work and travel. The songs also feature social criticism relating mainly to racial inequality and political issues.
Many artists are inspired by blues music and combine it with other styles. In this way, such musical mergers as punk blues, soul blues or blues rock. The popularity of this genre in the USA has led to the emergence of regional varieties, such as Louisiana, New Orleans, Texas and Detroit blues. There are also factions characteristic of other countries – British blues and African blues.
At the age of 14, she met guitarist Stefan Grossman, who introduced her to the music of Mississippi Delta blues guitarists. Block began listening to old albums, transcribing them, and learning to play the songs. At age 15, she left home to seek out the remaining blues giants, such as Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Son House, and hone her craft in the traditional manner of blues musicians; then she traveled to Berkeley, California where she played in clubs and coffeehouses.
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