Local Wire

Rory Block

We imagine you young 'uns are sick of hearing how fab the 1960s were, but it was a time when assorted strains of roots music were literally in the air. Take Aurora "Rory" Block — as a teen in NYC's Greenwich Village early in that decade, she heard folk and blues performers (and rockers-to-be) in Washington Square Park and her father's sandal shop. But while many of her contemporaries plugged into the brash electric blues of Muddy Waters and Albert King, Block fell under the storytelling sway of acoustic rural, or country, blues. Dedicated, Block visited country blues legends Rev. Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt, learning intricacies of their fingerpicking techniques. She finally got to do an album (circa 1975), though it was marred by commercial compromise. Block then resolved to stick to the blues and marketplace be damned. Eventually, a funny thing happened — Block had gold singles in Europe, won awards in America, and became a beloved fixture on the international blues circuit. With a fiery, unaffectedly sexy voice and nimble, searing guitar, Rory Block makes the blues her own.
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Mark Keresman