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Dragging The Blues Into The 21st Century

by Nick Morrison
Jan 12, 2011 (Jazz24)

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We're now a decade into the 21st century, so it's time to check in on the blues and see how it's doing in the relatively new world of loops, samples and remixing technology.

So far, blues music has proved resilient. The heart and soul of blues was laid down in the seminal recordings of the 1920s and '30s by artists such as Willie McTell, Robert Johnson and Charley Patton. That spirit easily survived amplification by Muddy Waters, Little Walter and other Chicago blues pioneers in the late '40s and early '50s. In the '60s and '70s, rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream and ZZ Top grabbed the blues and cranked the volume.

The blues often remain intertwined with rock today, thanks to groups such as Gov't Mule and The Black Crowes, and the spirit seems intact. So how is that spirit surviving studio technology? As you'll hear in these five examples of "techno-blues," it's holding up quite nicely.

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