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Blues Aren’t Just About Being Sad

Bluesfest logoMusic is about culture, history, strive, hope, sadness and joy. Music is about people. There are so many musical expressions, but if you’re talking about folk music, you talk about blues, the crucible of African-American music and the directions it experimented in after it escaped the roots of the Mississippi delta and sprang from spiritual music and field hollering to spin the cultural thread that followed the immense black migration from the vast openness of the south to the urban centers of the north – and from there across the globe. More than 5 million blacks moved north, south, east and west between 1915 and 1970, away from the Delta.

Away from the cotton fields in search for a better live in the urban industrialized centers. Some moved to Memphis Tennessee, where the blues gave birth to rock and roll. New Orleans developed its own flavor of jazz/blues and further west in Texas, blues received a Texas shuffle treatment. Moving to St.Louis and later Detroit, blues added horn sections and gave way to rhythm and blues and soul and funk. When the blues reached Chicago it became electrified and amplified and spread across the globe.

Blues was born as a lamentation of hardship but over time became an outlet for the heart’s every yearning. Blues is no longer just about being sad. It’s about life and it is about a culture that needs to be remembered. It’s a way to remember how black folks lived and were treated and to make absolutely sure that history will not repeat itself in any resemblance of that misguided era of human disgrace. Blues came from poverty and restriction and even though poverty is still an issue in the Delta and beyond, the cotton fields are worked by modern machinery and the sharecroppers shacks have made way for neat bungalows and mobile homes.

A lot of things have changed and many for the better, but this also has given rise to the fact that young African Americans these days are not into the blues anymore, even though it animates rap and other music forms they listen to.
These days it is a younger white generation that has taken up the cause of the blues. Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and others from areas as varied as upstate New York, Los Angeles and Oregon, are just a selected handful of guitar slingers that have adopted blues as their story to the world. The great Willie Dixon once said: Blues is the Facts of Life. And the fact is that facts change and the blues is how life feels and breathes as it goes on. I believe that there is more continuity in blues as an expression of everyday life, than anything else on this planet. Which is the main reason I joined the initiative to bring a Blues Festival to Amelia Island four years ago. Proud that we are now helping to keep the memories alive and happy to see that the 4th festival is on our door step and that it moved back to the beach. For me it feels like singing “Sweet Home on the Beach”, with a minuscule touch of irony and a giant portion of belief.

Amelia Island Blues Festival 2014 Headliners

The Amelia Island Blues Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 12th & 13th, at Main Beach this year. Four award winning artists are set to headline this year’s event.

Curtis Salgado winner of the 2010 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Soul Blues Artist of The Year, Salgado effortlessly mixes blues, funk and R&B with a delivery that is raw and heartfelt.

Chicago Blues legend, Grammy Award and Blues Music Award Nominee, John Primer is truly “The Real Deal” when it comes to performing Chicago Blues.

Samantha Fish won her 2012 Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” for her album “Runaway”, Her new CD, “Black Wind Howlin”will be released two days before the festival.

Bernard Allison‘s acclaimed career has included decades of performing the Blues. Bernard totes the same smokin’ six string shooter as his late father, Blues legend Luther Allison.

“We are very excited to have these world class Blues artists to perform at our 4th annual event” says Jeff Malone, President.

Day One – Friday, Sept 12th: gates will open at 5:30pm with music starting at 6:00pm with our very own Fernandina Beach “Blues in School” Band with band leaders Johnny Robinson and Roger “Hurricane” Wilson. From 6:30 – 8:00pm, The Mojo Roots, performer at the 2013 Chicago Blues Festival will take the stage.

Day Two – Saturday,  Sept 13th: gates open at 11:30am with music performances from 12:15 – 8:00pm. Ben Prestage is returning to perform throughout the day. Young Blues guitar prodigy Matthew Curry, Bernard Allison, Samantha Fish, John Primer and Curtis Salgado will headline this year’s event. For updates you can visit the festival facebook page. Don’t forget to like them. For more Information and Tickets visit: www.ameliaislandbluesfest.com