Review: Content With the Blues

 

 

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Hero Worship
Scott Perry '86
Scott Perry '86 first was touched by the blues when he heard a Taj Mahal album at Colby. Perry, who had an old guitar under his bed but had never learned to play it, promptly marched over to guitarist Carl Dimow (music teaching associate) and asked to be taught how to play this mesmerizing music. Dimow began Perry's blues education with a Mississippi John Hurt tune called "Oh Papa."

Now that song appears on Perry's new CD, Hero Worship, which follows earlier releases of original works by the Virginia-based blues guitarist and singer. This time Perry, who has learned from and played with blues masters in Chicago, South Carolina and other blues hotbeds, pays tribute to the musicians who broke both musical and racial ground in the early 20th century. "They fought oppression with their instruments and their voices as their only weapons, and faced injustice and brutality with creativity and humor," Perry writes in the liner notes for Hero Worship.

Perry offers his interpretation of blues standards, including Willie Dixon's "Back Door Man," Robert Johnson's "Stop Breakin' Down" and Muddy Waters's "I's Be Troubled," among others. A handful of sidemen pitch in while Perry offers vocals and his signature National reso-phonic guitar. It's pure acoustic blues from a musician who has appeared at countless blues clubs and festivals over the years (at his touring peak he played more than 200 gigs a year) and also has dedicated part of his time to handing down his passion for this music to the next generation. A former teacher and coach (he played football at Colby), Perry created the Blues in the Schools program and describes himself as both a blues musician and blues teacher. He ventures into schools from the Virginia farm where he lives with his wife and their two sons.

There is more about the music and the musician on Perry's Web site, ohpapa.com. The site also includes what he calls his "musings," including an account of his blues "testing" by South Carolina blues legend Drink Small. The tale is a treat to read, as Perry's picking is a treat to hear.