Do Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd do justice to the blues?

 

Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd only need to feel right about what they do for it to be just. I don't know Jonny, but I've done a soon to be released Live blues album for Bryan Lee on which myself and Kenny Wayne played together, and I think that he really believes in what he does. Whether I like it or not, when someone plays is purely a matter of my personal taste, as is the case with any kind of music at all, not just guitar. I'm not sure that anyone can claim that you need to do justice to the art of playing the blues. I'm not even sure that it's an art. I would think that anyone who feels the blues that they play, and I don't mean they have to be sad, is doing justice to their feelings. As to the blues as a standardized "art form", I suppose that so many have done it so similarly for so long that there is now a tendency towards purism in the circle of blues lovers, but I feel that this is a rather stiff attitude, certainly not worthy of consideration. We have to be careful that while in the pursuit of non-conformity, we don't get caught in the trap of all "non-conforming" in the same way, as this just begets an even worse form of conformity. The true rebel walks alone and, when joined by others of his kind, rebels even against them. The true rebel's only cause is to rebel.

Frank Marino

September 1997