Blues was the New Folk
Blues music was used to express the hardships of the black working class in America. Just as folk music, blues musicians used their voices and instruments to reflect the society they lived in. Blues musicians sang about everything ranging from their work life to their love life. Blues music can be seen as one of the first distinctions between secular and spiritual music.
W.C. Handy is responsible for the capitalization of blues music. Handy wrote and collected blues songs and sold them. Most of the music he collected came from Mississippi and Tennessee as they were the most prominent location for blues music. Handy named himself the Father of Blues.
Women in Blues
In an era where women, especially black women were not at the forefront, women like Mamie Smith and Ma Rainey changed that narrative. Ma Rainey became popular for her voice and her being one of the first on stage performances during the era of blues. Most people credit Rainey as the Mother of Blues.