Rory Block - guitar/vocals
The blues has, from its inception more than 100 years ago in the tent shows of Ma Rainey, resonated with women. In fact Rainey, the Mother of the Blues, identified the music as a woman's “strange and poignant” song about her man being gone. From Rainey to Bessie Smith to Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin and down through Beyoncé today, many women have given voice to the blues, though far fewer have focused on instrumental expression. Guitarist Rory Block is a wonderful exception. She fuses voice and guitar inseparably in performance, as did her heroes, Mississippi Delta masters such as Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Fred McDowell and Son House. Block grew up in 1960s Greenwich Village, not in rural cottonfields, yet her intensity channels the deep feelings people might suffer whatever their background, however they live. She is a preservationist who makes the fire of acoustic blues burn white hot, as she lights it.