Rory Block

From shoes to blues

The wonder of music is its ability to transcend cultural barriers and speak in a booming voice directly to the heart. Rory Block is white and a woman, but she's a truly gifted "bluesman" who knew and trained with the best. The daughter of a Greenwich Village sandal maker at the height of the West Village blues-folk scene, her family's shop became the site of late-night hootenannies with the likes of Peter Rowan and John Sebastian. But Block's life changed at 15, when she heard Mississippi John Hurt's album Really the Country Blues, and became an acolyte of the blues. In New York's thriving scene, she met Son House, sat at the feet of Reverend Gary Davis, played with Fred McDowell, and ended up dropping out of school to go to California and play the blues. She was a prodigy, but Block stopped playing for a decade to raise a family. It was another decade of small crowds before she started to gather critical steam, when her old-fashioned country-blues sound dovetailed with the growing interest in No Depression. An astounding slide guitar player and evocative singer-songwriter, Block proves that the blues are in the soul, not the DNA.

 
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