The blues seem like an appropriate kind of music for these hard economic times — but Charlie Musselwhite says it’s not because it’s music that brings people down.
“I always tell people that the blues is your comforter in hard times and it’s your buddy in good times,” explains the legendary harmonica player and singer, who was born in Mississippi and gained fame after moves to Memphis and Chicago. “Whatever life is about, the blues is right there with it.
“But it’s sort of a positive outlook, like, ‘We’ve been through this before, we can do it again’ kind of thing. It’s a spirit of survival and keep on keepin’ on. In country music, some guy might sing about ‘my baby left me, I’m gonna go jump off a bridge’; in blues the guy’s singing ‘my baby’s left me, I’m gonna find myself a new baby.’
Musselwhite’s spirit, meanwhile, gets restored when he returns to Clarksdale, Miss., a blues capital not far from the legendary “crossroads” where Robert Johnson reportedly sold his soul to the devil for musical talent. It’s one of two places where the Musselwhite keeps a residence (the other is in California), but it’s there he feels the most connected to his muse.
“A lot of people feel it,” Musselwhite, 65, notes. “The whole (Mississippi) Delta has a feel to it that’s not like anywhere else and is hard to put into words. When you go there, even for the first time, it feels like home. It’s just something you have to experience.”
Charlie Musselwhite performs Friday (April 10) at Callahan’s, 105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Doors open at 8 pm. Tickets are $25. Call (248) 858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com
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