[Harp-L] Is Blues dying out

I've been trying for months to get my 20 and 30 something year old coworkers to attend one of my gigs. Their recent response is, "is the bar full of old people?"
WTH! They tend to want to hang with their own kind and consider blues the music of their parents and grandparents generation.

In part they are right. I look out on most nights to an audience of blue hairs getting into the music like my parents generation of big band fans. The only co-workers that said they would come see us were in their 50's.

The thing is when we play a bar to an audience of 20/30 year olds they tend to really enjoy what we are playing. But unless they are already there it's very hard to draw them there. We wash away their notion that blues is just a bunch of old guys sitting around playing old timey music on acoustic instruments or that electric blues has to be played by Power trios.

There are always a few I see move away from their friends to watch the band when we play sports bars. We also get good feedback from the young staff. Mind you most of the blues we play is either originals or centered around blues performers who became popular in the 60's. Even though we are situated in PA. our sound is what I'd call Texas Surfing Chicago Blues. Dick Dale meets guys with last name King and first name Howling.

Blues isn't marketed like other music so it isn't appreciated as much. Blues bands generally don't have fog machines or even stage lighting at their gigs.
They play to the light coming from the cigarette machine or a half rigged flood light the bar installed in the stage area. Blues band generally don't have soundmen
miking drums and amps. We set our own levels and bitch that the guy beside us is playing too loud. We will book any room that will take us at almost any price.

If we marketed/packaged our bands and stage presence more like rockers we could probably play the bigger better paying rooms along side them on occasions. My band seems to get booked in smaller and smaller upscale rooms despite being a 5 piece band. We end up playing background to the diners and sports fans.

My band will finish recording our first cd this weekend. I'm hoping to make an in house video for YouTube to feature 1 or 2 of the originals that tell a story. I think it will hold more attention then someone holding a video camera in the corner of a dark bar capturing the band with unbalanced audio and background noise. I get bored real quick watching bar gig video's on YouTube.

Michael Easton

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