Corey Harris

Let's face it: Blues musicians are a disappearing breed. Go to any blues show and it's full of middle-aged white folks who are probably responsible for keeping the genre afloat financially but aren't picking up the instruments and playing them to keep the music alive. Try thinking of contemporary blues artists that are popular right now... yeah, we thought so. But they do exist, and none carry the spirit of the Mississippi Delta and the African Delta in their breast pocket with more authority than Colorado's own Corey Harris. He's the embodiment of the neo-bluesman, tall, dark, and handsome, with a playing style more akin to Vernon Reid — yet he's still deeply rooted in blues culture and routinely records with musicians twice his age. His most recent disc, Mississippi to Mali, was recorded in Niafunke, Mali, the desert home of African blues legend Ali Farka Touré. There's a DVD directed by Martin Scorsese that traces all of this, but for once, the film is pale in comparison to the music that was created for the CD. In the thick of sun-drenched Mali are Harris and Touré, two masters at opposite ends of the spectrum, sharing techniques, jokes, and other substances, and it's easy to forget that the blues is almost dead. Then again, maybe the blues won't die out if more local patrons shell out 15 bucks this weekend to help support it.
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Jonathan Cunningham