Jake BlountOf The story of the spider A stunning slice of old-time music, a movement / scene in American roots music. Not only did he restore the black string-band tradition to his Sophomore album, but the 22-year-old was also able to give it a voice that speaks directly to the struggles of both color and the LGBTQ + community in the 21st century.
Providence, RI, includes a bunch of modern artists living in Blount. Including Amethyst Kia, Kaiya Katar, Allison Russell, And Carolina Chocolate Drops-Those who have challenged the pervasive, historically misconceptions of old-time music only as a white southern tradition tihya. Using both performance and education, they are dedicated to highlighting the central role of black musicians in the evolution of music. To do this, however, Blount had to navigate a music scene whose network of festivals and jams across the country is still dominated mainly by straight white people.
Overlapping with his career in old-fashioned music is the arrangement of blouses in the Bluegrass scene. He served on the board Bluegrass Pride, Whose mission is to support, connect and lift LGBTQ + pickers and feeders. In addition to a host of educational and community-building resources, the San Francisco organization also hosts jams and events this month. The pride of the porch Digital festival, where Blount will perform.
Carrying our recent preservation, Blount’s artistic journey provides valuable insights for color musicians and LGBTQ + artists who want to enter scenes that once seemed accessible to them. On top of that, his work with Bluegrass Pride is proof of how grassroots action is an invaluable tool in combining barriers to the music industry.
Spotify for Artists: What is it like for a black and weird musician to make a name for himself in a genre scene associated with white and mountain culture?
Jack Blount: We have been told a lot about the Appalachians, that they do not welcome people of color or funny people. I didn’t find this to be true, although I would lie if I said all my experiences have been positive. If there is one struggle I face, it is because of my involvement with Black Lives Matter. There are some people who want me to be quiet and just play music. This is something that black musicians have been saying for a long time. It took me a while to realize that I might not be welcomed by everyone, but, people are ready for this conversation.
When musicians learn the tradition of the old days, they almost always travel to the American South and Appalachia to study with pickers. What was that good for you?
At first it was scary. My father came from the south and he didn’t take us there without seeing my grandparents. He has saved us from this. I expected very specific things from Appalachia, but I have since learned that all the problems are supposed to be localized in this region. [exist] Across the United States. It’s important to find the right person for musicians wherever you are. I did it in Appalachia.
It’s such an immersive approach to learning music style. How has this shaped your career?
When you first enter the scene of the old days, you are entering it not as a performer but as another participant in festivals and jams. There is no clear division between the actor and the audience member. If you take the time and market yourself in a certain way, you will eventually be seen as a “professional”. Being a part of something together with a feeling that my audience is friends and equal is a different way of building a career.
This emphasis on collectivism carries your work as a board member of Bluegrass Pride. Can you discuss the impact of the organization?
I often felt that there were strange people in the old days and Bluegrass, but the community didn’t have too much open collaboration and appreciation, so I appreciate what Bluegrass Pride has been able to do to bring people together and make themselves visible. Knowing that it was enough for a lot of people to be more vocal and create our own small scenes between the old times and the Bluegrass scene and the LGBTQ + community. And it’s not just for curious and transgender people who may need a place to plan, share resources and keep themselves safe. There are also acclaimed straight musicians of various levels who have supported us for a variety of writing in our Bluegrass Pride celebrations, as well. International Bluegrass Music AssociationAnnual World of Bluegrass Festival. The community has the momentum to make the kind of change we want to see and it’s nothing more than planning a variety of events like this year’s Porch Pride Digital Festival. This involves creating resources, such as our Safe Venue directory [working on].
In addition to performing, you give lectures to black string-band music. It seems that the musicians of the old days have long been expected to know the history of music. What can you tell us about that aspect of the scene?
There is a lot of homework. You don’t get credit in the old days just for playing good Fidel tunes. You need to know where they came from. You will be able to talk about the person from whom you learned them. It is important to place that person in the context of a region or country as a whole. Another key element is talking about the present, not just the past. If I talk about the history of the black string-band tradition, I rarely talk about the dead musicians of the ’20s. Instead, I’m talking about modern musicians, as well as cool work done by black traditional musicians in the field of education, such as Brandy Waller-Pace Doing with it Decolonize the music room Project
It seems vital. Instead of competing with each other in the market place, it is like a mutual aid group.
Taking advantage of your platform is an important way to make an impression in the industry. One of the things I respect Ryan Giddens This is how he used his platform to promote other black string-band artists. He invited me to open up for him. He invites Amethyst Kia to open for him. He has created an easy path for the rest of us to strive for a sustainable career. A large part of it goes back to the formulation of his work in the context of his historical knowledge and this extensive tradition. This makes it much more intuitive for him to bring other people. In my opinion, you have to give a scene to get you back. I think the scene of the old days is an incredible example of that.
– Justin Farrer