What can you expect? When was the last time you went to a smoke filled juke joint and sat next to your local legislator? Has anyone ever seen any of the Democratic Presidential hopefuls campaigning outside the arena where Buddy Guy is performing? Did any of the hundreds of monetary solicitation envelopes you got in the mail from the Republican Party this year mention a Blues show? Have you ever been asked to answer a political survey while attending a blues festival? Can any of your Congress Men or Ladies name three Blues performers -- not counting B. B. KING? Do you see a DELTA BLUES MUSEUM bumper sticker on their limos? The answer to all of those questions, of course, is an emphatic NO!
So What exactly happened during the "Year Of the Blues"? Oh sure, there was a very well done mini series on PBS about the Blues - BUT, how many people outside of the Blues community actually watched it? Yes, there were audio and visual products available relating to this mini series - BUT, how many people outside of the Blues community actually purchased those products? Did this mini series help local blues clubs? Did it help attract listeners to blues radio shows? Did it increase Blues CD sales? Again, of course not.
This is what happened in my immediate and surrounding areas during the so called "Year Of The Blues"; Our only local blues hour radio program was canceled. I guess the local representatives and senators didn't tune in; One of our Blues clubs closed and another one now only features Blues several nights a month; A major Southeast Regional Blues Festival announced after the eighteenth annual event that there will not be a nineteenth; A blues magazine folded and most of the others are struggling to stay in business; AND, on top of all of this, the Blues Foundation in Memphis is one fall away from bankruptcy and they are walking on banana peels.
As a result of being the Blues editor of this website -- WWW.MARY4MUSIC.COM -- I am in touch with literally thousands of Blues lovers all over the world, and it seems that the situation is not much better anywhere else. A Congressional Declaration can't do anything for the Blues that we, the Blues community, can't do for ourselves. Keeping the Blues alive is the responsibility of the fans of the music, not some snooty senator. Next time you go to a Blues club, bring a "non blues" friend along and tell them they will love the show; Bring a Blues CD to your neighbors house and say "You've got to hear this"; When you go to a club, stop complaining and pay the cover charge - consider this is an insurance policy so that the club will still be there next time you come back and they will still be playing blues; Pass this article on to your friends; Put my website into your favorite places and visit often; Contact your local radio stations and tell them you want a Blues program on the air. Contact your local newspaper and ask them to have an entertainment writer cover the Blues shows in your area and write about it in the paper; AND, most importantly, contact your local, state and national representatives
and tell them to butt out when it comes to the Blues.
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