The Baton Rouge Blues Project began after marinating on several conversations I’d had with members of Baton Rouge’s music community. Few people seem to recognize the value of the city in creating swamp blues, an arm of the blues that audibly, comfortably straddles the line between the city and the swamp.
It was those conversations that led me to try to do my part to recognize the treasures of Baton Rouge’s blues history. The remaining pioneers of the genre are slowly fading away into the annals of history, so my plan was to begin taking down their stories before it was too late. I’ve got a long list of musicians, etc., that I hope to speak with, but here’s what we’ve got so far:
- 10-26-13: Tabby Thomas’ Blues Box left indelible mark on Baton Rouge music scene
- Tabby died last week, just a few days shy of his 85th birthday. I only met him the one time, but his charisma was spot-on and he still managed to sing a little for me. Watch the video in the link to check it out.
- 12-14-13: A renowned bluesman in Europe, Larry Garner still fits right at home in Baton Rouge
- Larry is a character. No other way to put it. When I arrived to do our interview, he insisted I have a glass of wine, kick off my shoes and put my feet up on a stool. Needless to say, he’s a charming fellow who’s able to toast his wine glass to you in several languages.
- 12-12-13: Rudy Richard reflects on decades playing guitar with genre-defining swamp blues bands
- Rudy is a class act. He seemed pretty quiet at first, but it seemed he enjoyed revisiting the memories of his childhood and coming of age alongside Baton Rouge’s greats. Sadly, he’s never produced a record of his own, but as one of the city’s best session guitarists, you can hear him on many tracks that came out of the area.
- 10-5-13: Kenny Neal returns home to continue Baton Rouge blues legacy
- Kenny was the toughest interview to get, considering at the time he was still living in California. We managed to get it done, however, and last I heard he’ll be moving to Baton Rouge for good this week. He’s a very open, very honest bluesman who doesn’t shy from a tough question.