David “Honeyboy” Edwards at the Rosendale Cafe

You know you’re doing pretty good when you keep running into a radio DJ at concerts, especially one whose show you love. That’s exactly what has been happening to me. I’ve seen Raissa, host of WKZE’s “Radio Archeology,” at a number of shows recently (heck, I’ve always known I have great musical taste, and this just confirms it!). The latest show we both attended was David “Honeyboy” Edwards at the Rosendale Cafe last Friday. Honeyboy Edwards is a 93 year old blues musician and has played with pretty much every blues great who’s ever lived, such as Charlie Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson, to name a few…

There’s nearly a century of sorrows behind Honeyboy’s voice, but also an unmistakable spark for life. He has a vibrancy which I hope to still have when I’m his age! Opening the show for Honeyboy, as well as playing with him for his set, was Rocky Lawrence. Rocky is an incredible guitarist, and it was a treat to hear him. He started out on a different musical path earlier in his career, but along the way decided to devote his life to keeping the Delta blues alive. Also playing with Honeyboy was damn great harp player (and Honeyboy’s manager) Michael Robert Frank.

It was an honor to see Honeyboy Edwards perform, and I was not the only one who thought so! The Rosendale Cafe was packed, and people were forced to stand not only in the hallway, but out the door as well. Those of us who managed to get a seat sat packed in, knee to knee with newfound friends, all joined together by a shared passion for the blues. The blues have influenced, in some way or another, every style of music that has ever existed (well, okay, maybe not the pop music of the late 90’s, such as N*Sync or Britney Spears…). In fact, I even hesitate to classify the blues as a style of music at all.  They’re so much more than that. The blues are an expression of mankind, and there’s something about them that I find uplifting. Maybe it’s the hypnotic blues beat, the spiritual tinged moanin’ and howling, or perhaps it’s something else altogether. All I know, is that the blues are a way of expressing inner turmoil and working through troubles, and listening to the music never makes me sad. There’s such a rich American history surrounding the blues, and a certain mysticism has has always penetrated the music – even before Robert Johnson went to the crossroads and sold his soul. As for Mr. Honeyboy Edwards, his soul is just fine. So is his heart, his eyes (he doesn’t wear glasses), and his legs, which twitch and tap as he’s playing. The blues have been nourishing souls in one form or another since earliest man, and after Friday’s concert, my own is satiated.

*Note: I don’t have any videos to share today. I asked Honeyboy’s manager if it was okay to take videos and post them on YouTube, and after thanking me for asking, he told me no. Alas, Honeyboy doesn’t like videos to be taken and put on the internet, unless it’s done by his own crew. It killed me sitting there, not being allowed to take videos to share with the world (I’m still grief-ridden over it), but I had to respect the man’s wishes.

Advertisements

About this entry