The Blues, Both Encouraging and Depressing

Amaia Calhoun

Work songs, field hollers, slave songs and spirituals of black people from Texas, Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta are the foundation of the Blues. This rural musical artform captured the suffering, anguish and hopes of 300+ years of slavery and tenant farming. Both the music (instrumentation) and the lyrics can come across as depressing when listened to intently. However, when you understand the humble beginnings many of the blues artists came from and see the influence of their music even today, it provides hope and encouragement that even in these very difficult circumstances, these artists were able to create. Perhaps it was the act of creating that helped them to get through the challenges of life.

The Blues are yet another example of an artform, created by African American artists, that has had tremendous impact on the majority musicians. For example, The Rolling Stones performed covers of blues artists such as Muddy Waters, and subsequently, this artform had significant impact on Rock and Roll music. However, in other cases, white performers gained a great following and earned lots of money by stealing the sound of blues artists while these blues artists themselves were struggling to make ends meet.

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