Blues music is undoubtedly one of the most popular and accessible genres out there. Ever since it first emerged in the 19th century in America’s Deep South, it’s managed to become one of the most iconic musical genres in the world.
Of course, as time has gone on, blues has continued to evolve, sprouting new sounds and styles that have been borne from the earliest of blues traditions. Needless to say, this has resulted in blues well and truly having something for everyone, with music fans from all walks of life becoming fond of the genre.
But the question remains, what about all these sub-genres? Sure, we hear about the great blues artists all the time, but what about the artists representing the smaller, lesser-known genres? Well, we’ve decided to take a look back at the artists keeping blues sub-genres alive.
Karen Lee Andrews
Cast your mind back a few years, and you might remember when Karen Lee Andrews (FKA Ms Murphy) found quite a bit of success as a finalist on The Voice. Following two albums and a three-year gap, Karen Lee Andrews has released the Far From Paradise EP, and it asserts her status as one of the finest musicians in the blues soul genre.
With a penchant for writing some absolutely stunning songs, Karen Lee Andrews has the uncanny ability to pick up a guitar, strum a few chords, and absolutely blow you away with her stunning voice. With a style of performing that harkens back to the soulful blues musicians of days gone by, this is one artist who you certainly won’t want to miss out on seeing live.
No matter how you look at it, two of the most enduring genres to come out of America over the years are blues and country. Of course, it’s only sensible that the two should therefore be combined, right? Well, that’s what Joshua Hedley thought, and he’s been making a habit out of it for years now.
With slick tunes that showcase his impressive vocals, he’s just released his debut album thought Jack White’s iconic label Third Man Records, and it’s an absolute gem.
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Greta Van Fleet
For years, Led Zeppelin were cited as the group that helped to bring the mixture of blues and rock music to mainstream levels of success. Now, decades later, US rockers Greta Van Fleet are doing the same thing, and even gaining praise from members of Led Zep in the process.
With a sound that’s perfectly suited for stadiums, and a habit of delivering hit after hit, it won’t be long before Greta Van Fleet are held in the same regard as their idols of days gone by.
When it comes to a musician like C.W. Stoneking, he can be pretty hard to categorise. Having named his 2005 album after the hokum style of blues, he’s since gone on to incorporate other styles into his music, including vaudeville and calypso.
Whatever your view on this eclectic muso is, his music is absolutely enthralling, providing listeners with just as much of a spectacle as a soundtrack. Arguably one of the few musicians in Australia who pay close attention to the older styles of blues, C.W. Stoneking is an intriguing listen, but can often be something of an acquired taste for newer fans.
It can often be forgotten just how much hip-hop music borrows from genres like the blues, but groups like The Roots are doing their best to ensure that people never forget. While not often classified as a blues band, this US institution have been going for over 30 years now, delivering an eclectic mix of hip-hop, soul, jazz, and blues.
With a tendency to deliver a stunning groove, fronted by vocals that transcend genres by the second, The Roots are a perfect starting position for anyone who wants to take the leap from hip-hop into the world of blues, and have fun while they’re doing it.
While PJ Harvey might be known to many as one of the more critically-acclaimed alternative rockers out there, she’s managed to carve out a career by mixing and matching genres on the fly. However, above all, one of her most constant sounds is that of the punk blues genre.
Mixing in elements of blues rock, with indie-folk, PJ Harvey continuously delivers devastating dirges that borrow from the blues genre, while delivering them with the guts that only a punk rocker can.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Tab Benoit was basically destined to be one of the most famous purveyors of swamp rock. Taking influence from the Cajun and Creole styles, swamp blues showcases all the best elements of blues rock, slows it down, and delivers it with a level of feeling and intensity you can’t find elsewhere.
Since Tab Benoit first appeared on the music scene in the late ’80s, he’s been delivering brilliant tunes with a level of ease that would make most musicians blush. With a dedicated following and an impressive style of playing, Benoit is one of those artists that inspires young musicians to pick up their first instrument and set their sights on greatness.
Clutch are basically the answer to the age-old question, “What if we mashed up blues and heavy metal?” Forming in 1991, the group have released a dozen studio albums to date, and managed to amass an amazingly dedicated fanbase.
Mixing in elements of heavy metal, punk rock, funk, and blues, Clutch are a music nerd’s worst nightmare, but the music-lover’s best friend. With powerful songs that defy categorisation, there’s no doubting that the spirit of blues rock is alive and well thanks to groups such as this.
When music fans think of blues, they rarely give a second thought to the piano, one of the most important instruments in sub-genres like boogie-woogie and rockabilly. However, artists like Marcia Ball are ensuring that diehard fans won’t forget the piano any time soon.
Having kicked off her career in the ’70s, Ball has been delivering brilliant tunes for decades now. With a voice perfectly suited for the genre, her piano playing takes influence from Texas and Louisiana styles of performing, and has managed to see her become one of the genre’s most vital artists.