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Posts tagged ‘blues’

How playing the blues is like writing a novel

In TV-land, actor Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House, a drug-addicted medical genius with the bedside manner of Attila the Hun who speaks perfect American English. In real life, Laurie hails from England and speaks with a British accent.

He is also a comic and gifted musician. If you listen to him sing with your eyes closed, you’ll swear he’s a great African American blues singer. (As my cousin did when she heard his CD “Let Them Talk” playing in my home).  The multi-talented Laurie sings, plays a mean guitar and is a stunning pianist. (In TV-land, House has a wall of guitars and a piano in his apartment).

After experiencing Laurie and The Copper River Band play Seattle recently, I’ve decided the blues is my new favorite genre of music.

Listening to the blues reminds me of putting together a novel. I love the way the different instruments—guitars, sax, bass sax, drums, piano, bass fiddle, etc—riff back and forth and talk to one another. It reminds me of different aspects of a novel—dialogue, plot, characterization—and how they all work together. Sometimes there’s dissonance which brings a certain friction to the piece and other times there’s harmony. Through it all there’s a sense of passion that drives the entire work.  Read more