The country blues genre is the earliest
form of blues music.
To go further back in the history of the blues,
we would have to
go to West Africa.
Country blues is acoustic music, sometimes played by bands,
but often by solo musicians. These players
had to make themselves come on like a full band at
and in juke joints.
The guitar technique probably evolved to facilitate this.
By using the fingers and thumb of the right hand independently,
guitarists learned to keep a bass part,
melody and chordal accompaniment going simultaneously.
Click here to listen to some of my music
These driving rhythms are complemented
by the beautiful sound of the open-tuned guitar.
Back when this music was played originally, it wasn't so important
to adhere to a standardized tuning structure.
You just tuned the guitar to an open chord. I find that I enjoy the tunings of the older country blues songs
a lot more than so-called standard tuning. You can take advantage of beautiful sonorous ringing sounds with
Nobody had made rules about song structures either. You changed
chords when you felt like it.
In this sense, country blues feels quite different than what we
today understand as "blues".
Country blues can seem like a more loose feeling, yet the momentum
of the music is often awesome.
Many players got the idea of playing melodies and improvisations
using a smooth object, such as a
bottleneck, to slide up and down the strings. This makes beautiful
and haunting sounds,
much like a human voice.
Country blues embody the power of the human
spirit, and it is often about the joys and the sufferings of life at the same time.
Also, the themes may range from downright tragic to more humorous, reflecting many of the basic and timeless conflicts
and longings of the human condition.