The Blues

I've had the great pleasure over the last few years of traveling all over the American South and meeting and photographing some of the most talented, yet overlooked musical artists of their time. Many of these fine folks were living in poverty, having been used and abused by the music business in one way or another. Rarely getting their due, and even more rarely getting paid what was owed them. Through it all, they retained their integrity, honor, and artistry... and just kept on playing.

With the help of the Music Maker Foundation they were able to make records, tour the world, and even play at Lincoln Center. More importantly, they were able to keep a roof over their head and keep playing their music. Please visit their website, give their music a listen, and donate if you can.

Dr. G.H. Burt

When I first met Dr. Burt he was 70 years old, working 7 days a week as an auto mechanic and house painter, and living in an unheated house surrounded by all of his belongings to protect them from his crime infested neighborhood. With Music Maker's help, he was able to record his 1st record, "They Call Me Dr. Burt", obtain a passport, and play shows from Australia to Lincoln Center. A gentle giant of a man, Burt was able to spend the rest of his life playing his music and spreading the joy of the blues. He passed in 2014. R.I.P. Dr. Burt. You will be missed.

Jerry "Boogie" McCain

"Boogie" was the best harmonica player in the world. At least that's what he told me. And you didn't argue with "Boogie". After taking a ration of shit for being 15 minutes late (I had driven from Nashville, TN to Gadsden AL to his house), Jerry spent the next several hours spinning tales about his life, my favorite of which started "My first wife shot me with her boyfriend's gun." A day I will never forget, we kept in contact until his death in 2012. Thanks "Boogie". Wherever you are now, the joint is rocking.

Alabama Slim

Alabama Slim is a true Southern gentleman. With a voice as sweet as sugar cane and guitar chops for days, Slim has toured the world spreading the word of the music he grew up on. In his own words, “I grew up listening to the old blues since I was a child. I spent summers with my grandparents who had a farm. Them old folks would get to moanin’ while they worked, and I just started moanin’ with them. That’s where I learned to sing.” Based in New Orleans, Slim has recorded several records, including "Blue & Lonesome" and "The Mighty Flood", with fellow Music Maker artist, Little Freddie King.

'Guitar Lightnin' Lee

'Guitar Lightnin' is a force of nature. Raised in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans over 60 years ago, Lightnin’ had music all around him. After learning from New Orleans blues great, Boogie Bill Webb, Lightnin’ went to Chicago to find his inspiration, Jimmy Reed. When Jimmy Reed wasn’t throwing Lightnin’ out of his house and telling Lightnin’ to go back to New Orleans, he was showing Lightnin’ his style of Delta Blues via electrified Chicago. After moving back to New Orleans, Lightnin’ played with and around such New Orleans legends as Earl King, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe, and Little Freddie King. If you're ever anywhere near New Orleans, get yourself to a 'Guitar Lightnin' show. You can thank me later.

'Little Freddie' King

'Little Freddie' is the real deal. But don't take my word for it. As noted musicologist Dr. Ira Padnos stated, “If you want the real blues – and I’m not talkin’ about some long-haired hippy beatin’ on a National Resonator guitar or a mustachiod, Italian-suited slickster blowin’ on a chromatic harmonica – baby, you’d better call Little Freddie King.” Truth. Freddie may be small in stature, but he's a monster. And don't let the man anywhere near your woman. He's bound to steal her, and con you out of a few drinks in the process. Man's a legend.

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