Tag: Alan Lomax

Featured Musician: Sam Chatmon

A big misconception about bluesman is that they were old men playing their guitar and singing with weathered voices.

When most of these legendary players recorded, they were in their 20s. 

Luckily renewed interest in this music in the 1960s relaunched some of their careers. By the time these musicians careers relaunched, they were old. 

Sam Chatmon is an example of a great guitarist who was rediscovered and recorded in the 1960s. He was able to tour around for 20 more years until his death. Fortunately, we got a lot of great video recordings of him during this period.

Sam, along with his famous brother Bo Carter, were part of the popular group the Mississippi Sheiks during the 1930s.

When I used to study with John Miller, I found out he had spent quite a bit of time with Sam. I learned a couple of Sam’s tunes from John, and he showed me how Sam fingered some unconventional chord shapes.

Below is a video of Sam playing That’s Alright at age 81. If you want to learn how to play this, check out my free lesson.

If you’re interested in the history of this music, there are a couple interviews of Sam that are publicly available on Alan Lomax’s channel.

Featured Musician: Belton Sutherland

Awhile ago I stumbled upon a series of videos recorded by Alan Lomax in 1978. One of my favorites is from unknown guitar player Belton Sutherland.

Belton was probably a teenager in the hay-day of this music’s popularity in the south. Maybe he had the opportunity to learn from one of the masters. Eugene Powell, also known as Sonny Boy Nelson was at this recording session. Maybe he taught Belton a thing or two.

Blues #1, just like Blues #2 is a droning Mississippi Hill Country type of song. I talk about how to play this type of song in my lesson on Catfish Blues.

This type of music seems so raw and emotionally loaded. A lifetime of experience and guitar playing allowed Belton to tap into such a raw channel of expression