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February 24, 2015 @ 7:30 pm
Organizer: UTC Fine Arts, Phone: (423) 425-4371 https://www.utc.edu/fine-arts-center/
The most celebrated female acoustic blues artist alive, Rory Block has spent a lifetime immersed in playing and understanding the genre. Born in Princeton, NJ in 1949, Rory’s exposure to music came after family’s move to New York where she spent her early childhood among the folk scene that existed on MacDougal and West 4th Streets in SoHo and the East Village of New York City. Block grew up friends with many of the people who would go on to become some of the most acclaimed musicians of the 20th century. At fourteen she became part of the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park, playing with David Grisman, Eric Weissberg, John Sebastian, Maria Muldaur, among many others.
After hearing “Really The Country Blues” in 1964, Rory dedicated her life to learning how to play blues. Initially spending “untold hours and two years of my life with my ear glued to a speaker”, Rory was determined to play the great songs with as much accuracy as she could muster, out of a deep reverence for the music. Her quest led her to meet and learn from such blues legends as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, and the Reverend Gary Davis, among many others.
Her latest album “Avalon”, pays tribute to Hurt and is one of four in her recent “tribute” series, where Block has sought to fully replicate the original sound of the old blues masters. “One of the things I have endeavoured to capture is a return to a more earthy natural approach,” Block summarizes. “Some of the songs are one chord throughout. Some have the same simple refrain which repeats again and again after each verse – no solos, just the driving beat and original theme. And almost never fancy endings – just ‘Get outa’ town’ endings – plunk and wham, or the sound of someone leaving the room before the song is over. This is part of what I love. Instead of sweeping the tracks clean of all noise, sanitizing, bleaching, and disinfecting the music, I felt compelled to let it be real. Every recording is a field recording in my view. The first take is always the best. So, in this effort I remember John Hurt, celebrate his music and times and rejoice at having had the chance to meet him. Nothing will ever be the same as a result, and my life has been made far richer by the experience.”
And so will yours when you join us for this evening that explores one of the roots of American popular music!
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