Friday, June 20, 2014

RORY BLOCK: When a Woman Gets the Blues

For my money, Rory Block is the best acoustic blues player alive, and one of the best acoustic blues players to ever live. Her ability to not only compose new material but to interpret the songs of the masters (Robert Johnson, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Tommy Johnson, and more) is, quite simply, un-matched. She is the best at what she does. Period.

And allow me to go a step further. Though it is anathema to say so (and Rory herself - as well as the blues establishment - will certainly disagree with me), , allow me to make a bold prediction: Rory Block will be remembered, 50 years, 100 years, and more from now, as better than not only her peers, but than most of the guitarists she looks up to. Better, in fact, than most players of any style.

"Small Batch" - the Review

Did you know that whiskey can be made anywhere, but that particular brand of whiskey called "bourbon" can only be produced in the US? Did you know that law was passed in 1964 by congress? Or that it is at least 80 proof? Or is made from mash of at least 51% corn?

Did you know "small batch" bourbon doesn't have a specific definition, but that the name implies (almost always correctly) high quality?

And so it is with a small book of poetry called "Small Batch: an anthology of bourbon poetry" (Two of Cups Press, 2013 - A high quality collection of poems from over 50 high quality poets, straight with no chaser.

Before we get any further, I should note that I am no poet (I'm a musician) and poetry not tethered to music often confuses or eludes me. Not so this little gem. To wit:

I heard this press wanted poems about
This confused me, because I thought
was already a poem.
(David S. Atkinson)

Makes perfect sense to me.

And so begins this fantastic book! It weaves through poems with titles like "The Bourbon Drinker's Guide to Intimacy" and "verge" and "Spirits" and "Shadow Traffic"...."Julep" and "Don't Marry Before You Liquor" and "Ode to Bourbon".

Each a new wonder of words and images.

Kudos to Leigh Anne Hornfeldt and Teneice Durrant on editing a fantastic book that should be owned and read by every lover of both poetry and bourbon everywhere.