Alvin Youngblood Hart. This musician was one of the reasons that an initial interest in photographing the Blues back in 2001 became a life long passion. When I first heard, photographed and met him back in San Francisco one night when he played at Biscuits & Blues, I knew I was starting to fall deep into a new realm of music and photographic interest for myself. His style of gritty, old-style blues is haunting and intensely weaved with stories of the past. Alvin along with blues musician Otis Taylor solidified a new obsession for me with the Blues. I began photographing present day blues musicians and developed a desire to understand the history of this american style of music.
Check out a short video clip of his performance HERE
Youngblood Hart was born in Oakland, California and has family ties to Mississippi. Growing up he heard stories of blues musicians from the early to mid 1900’s, like Charley (Charlie) Patton, Lead Belly, Taj Mahal and others and the stories he heard inspired his interest in the genre of country blues. Seeking out blues musicians like him who play in New Orleans is the goal for my Blues documentary. This area of the South is known for the beginnings of Jazz, Zydeco and other styles of southern music and the blues has also been here a long time, but sort of underground. I’ve taken a deep interest in seeking out this genre of music and style of musician with the hopes of photographing their lasting legacy as an important part of american music history.
And New Orleans own Honey Island Swamp Band was the opening act and I just have to give a nod to them as well. Their music is very eclectic, funky, raw and their lyrics show an honesty that make it easy to relate and groove along. “The Honey Island Swamp Band has developed an original sound that fuses bluegrass, jazz, funk, reggae, and country. If someone asked me to do that, I would probably say that it was impossible.” – Kevin O’Day, neworleans.com
There was so much talent on this one stage that it made me happy and proud to be living here in New Orleans!