Edward James “Son” House, Jr. was born on the twenty-first day of March, 1902 in a small town in Mississippi named Lyon. House Jr. was the second of three brothers. His father, was a musician as well; he played the tuba in a band with his brothers. The entire family was heavily involved in the church, some more than others. House Jr. took a keen interest to churchgoing and his family’s love of music. However, he was hostile towards blues music on religious grounds. Soon, his parents separated which led to House Jr.’s move to Tallulah, Louisiana and later New Orleans, Louisiana where he began preaching sermons by age fifteen.
After a two-year sentence in Mississppi’s Parchman Farm prison for muder, House Jr. had an immediate change of attitude towards blues music. He bought a guitar and began playing with Frank Hoskins, McCoy and Wilson. He seemed to learn a lot from these men as two of his greatest hits “My Black Mama” and “Preachin’ the Blues” were inspired by them. Although he was not fully committed to the church as he was before, he still continued to preach sermons every so often so that he would not forget his beginnings.
Son House was not the first ever delta blues musician, but he did influence a lot of musicians to come. His music is to be categorized as delta blues. He is most known for his high emotions seen through his singing and his slide guitar playing. Below are artists who can be compared to Son House’s unique style.
Mississippi Delta Blues is considered to be one of the earliest styles of blues. It originated in the Mississippi Delta which is pictured to the right of this text. Delta blues is noted to be a regional adaptation of country blues where the guitar and harmonica are the main instruments used. One of the most memorable styles of delta blues is the slide guitar and the passionate, soulful singing which can be found in Son House’s music.
Thesis Statement: Son House is an inspiration through many aspects. He clearly inspired a whole genre of music, but also a generation of black men. He beat the odds that were put against him. He used his imprisonment to his advantage, and learned from it. He took the time when he was supposed to be down about his life and turned it around by creating music, and embracing where he came from.
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