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Saying it with feeling; the real deal Delta blues



Who: Honeyboy Edwards

Where: Dusty’s

When: Sunday, April 6

Here's a musical history lesson you cannot afford to miss. One of the last surviving original Delta bluesmen, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, is on his way to Whistler, and while the Mississippi music man may be 88-years-old, he still has a lot to say and a lot to play.

Edwards is still recording, still singing and still teaching the ways of the blues in pubs, clubs and music schools across North America. In an interview from his home in Chicago, the softly spoken friend of the late and legendary big names of the game, like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Big Joe Williams, shared some of his stories with us. He rolled off dates, gigs and famous colleagues spanning more than 70 years as if it was yesterday.

Edwards decided to walk in the footsteps of fellow blues greats when only a teenager. He began playing guitar in 1920, with lessons from his father. Like most bluesmen of his generation, Edwards had no formal musical training. He learned by doing time playing in farmhouses, in dance halls, raucous juke joints and on private properties for people who took him in along the way. In between jobs he'd jump trains to nowhere, making money off hustling with dice, often meeting women along the way who’d take care of him. The stories are all there in the songs, a key element to singing the blues – where life and the music are one and the same.

In his autobiography, The World Don't Owe Me Nothing, Edwards described his long musical journey: "The blues is something that leads you on," he said. "Everywhere the blues took me was home."

Honeyboy Edwards was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996. His guitar and vocal performances are moving and intense. Listening to his live performances, one readily understands how Honeyboy Edwards has been captivating audiences around the world for decades.

Pique: What type of blues do you like playing?

HB: I play a mix of blues, from the low-down dirty to the more up-tempo stuff but mainly the Delta blues. Me, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Big Joe Williams, we all played the Delta blues but we changed our style to the boogie woogie blues for people to dance to. Rob Johnson started that. He came out and he got famous right away. He learnt it to himself and other musicians came behind him.

Pique : Why do you think the blues is still so popular today?

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