July 1, 2014. After you have spent a day celebrating the Red, White and Blue; eaten all the watermelon and picnic fare you can possibly hold; and enjoyed parades, fireworks and patriotic band music, it’s time to chill out! The Watauga County Arts Council has just the solution for you. Whether you’re a musician, singer, or simply an appreciative listener, you will thoroughly enjoy The Blues Porch.
The Blue Ridge ArtSpace is blessed with a generous covered porch and from 1:30-4:30 p.m. each Saturday beginning July 5, it will be filled with the sounds of The Blues Porch, a Blues-Centric Jam Session that features the blues but caters to the whims, interests and favorite tunes of those present. Musicians, vocalists, foot-stompers, groupies – all are welcome to this unplugged session each Saturday afternoon. The intent of The Blues Porch is to bring musicians, vocalists and listeners together in a format that lets everyone participate easily and fluidly. For this, the blues is a perfect focal point. The Blues Porch will not be a jam session confined to the blues. That’s just our touchstone and starting point.
If you’re unfamiliar with the blues, here’s a quick intro: The basic blues form is simple and repetitive, which can be expected given its stylistic origins which makes it very easy for beginners to follow along with, play or sing. However, the almost endless variations allow plenty of room for more experienced musicians or vocalists to experiment. The fact that it shows up in almost every form of music popular in America today means that anyone who likes and listens to or plays American music has familiarity with the blues form.
The blues gets its stylistic origins from the Afro-American folk music, work songs and spirituals that began in the late 19th century southern United States. Typically the blues will include such instruments as guitar, bass guitar, piano, upright bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet, cornet, trombone, harmonica and it’s not unusual to include someone singing.
Early blues frequently took the form of a loose narrative. The singer voiced his or her personal woes in a world of harsh reality: a lost love, the cruelty of police officers, oppression at the hands of white folk and hard times. The lyrics often relate troubles experienced within African American society. However, although the blues gained an association with misery and oppression, the lyrics could also be humorous and raunchy as well. One unique genre, Hokum blues, celebrated both comedic lyrical content and a boisterous, farcical performance style.
Blues can include other well-known genres such as Boogie-woogie, Classic female blues, Country blues, Delta Blues, electric blues and piano blues just to name a few, and bluegrass, jazz, R&B, rock and roll and rock have derived from the original blues styles.
If you would like to enjoy a relaxed afternoon on the porch on a summer afternoon, come spend it with the blues on the blues porch of the Blue Ridge ArtSpace at 377 Shadowline Drive in Boone. No admission is required, although donations are gladly accepted. Be sure to bring your own chair since the ArtSpace has a limited number available.
The Blues Porch is co-sponsored by the Watauga County Arts Council and the Carolina Artist Salon, which exists to provide opportunities for its members to meet regularly with one another, share their creations and creative processes, receive appropriate encouragement or constructive criticism if they so desire and discuss problems and implement possible solutions to challenges that are common to the arts. The Watauga County Arts Council’s primary focus is to encourage and sponsor the arts, making them a presence in our community. From their home at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace the Arts Council works tirelessly to provide opportunities for learning, for appreciating, for selling and for showcasing the arts throughout the community.