True stories from the front lines of American music

In this repost from 2006, I leave Memphis and drive south a couple of hours into another world, the Mississippi Delta, epicenter of the blues.

Clarksdale, Mississippi, is the birthplace of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin Wolf and Son House, where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to play guitar like no one else: Ground Zero of the Blues.

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Reposted from June, 2006, on my long roadtrip down the Mississippi to Texas and back.

What a cool city! As my friend Tom Arndt says, you can stand on the corner of 3rd and Beale at 2 in the morning and hear five bands playing “Mustang Sally” at the same time. Come to think of it, even the hotel lobby music in Memphis is cool — I was just treated to the great old Outsiders song “Cowboys to Girls” in the elevator just now.

I

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I wrote this at my brother’s house in Boston, on one of the earliest shooting excursions of this project, the Peter Case/Chris Smither holiday show in Arlington, Mass., in November 2002. Chris’s management wanted to see a proposal, and this came out.

TROUBADOURS
A Journey to the Heart of American Music
Copyright (c) 2002 by Thomas J. Weber

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About the Film

Troubadour Blues is a feature-length documentary that explores the fascinating world of traveling singer-songwriters. We see them in a variety of situations: impromptu performances, concert stages, formal and informal interviews and songwriting sessions. This is a story that needs to be heard. In our media-saturated age of instant pop stardom, there is real danger that the tradition of the itinerant working musician -- the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly -- is being diluted or lost. Troubadour Blues explores the hidden corners of our culture, where honest, authentic songs reflecting the human experience are still being made up and sung.

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