Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

The blues: why does feeling low feel so good?

In honor of the passing of the great late B.B. King I thought it fitting to start my contribution to this wonderful page with a reflection on a visceral topic; why the blues feel so good! My exposure to blues music occurred at a pivotal time of my life, the angst ridden era of adolescence. There may be no better soundtrack to the flux of hormones one experiences at this phase of their lives. The blues being historically born from suffering, and being the result of having a musical outlet for such suffering makes for great synergy with the experiences of the average teen.

There is a magic in the blues; turning deep-rooted sadness into a beautiful piece of music and poetry. This is why when I listen to the blues there is a sense of absolute joy in the experience, a visceral release of whatever sadness would be affecting me at that point in my life. Entering the realm of performing this music, adds another layer to the experience, not only could I partake in the experience of the writer of whichever standard I would be playing, but the improvisational nature of this music made it possible for me to actually be creative within that context. It became very much like finding my inner voice, a way to communicate without the need for words, even leading me to my own voice as a singer. Furthermore, the experience of jamming with a group of strangers (and well I might add) with whom you share a love for blues/jazz/rock, but  all share different experiences from life, and how long they have experienced life; for that matter.

Blues music at its core is the pinnacle of catharsis, taking every sadness one has experienced and translating it into music and lyrics that embody ones pain and sorrow, yet manifest itself into an expression that is akin to joy and freedom, a release from ones burdens; even if it it’s for only a bittersweet moment.


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