RORY BLOCK AT SANDYWOODS
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 - RORY BLOCK
7:30 pm, doors open 7 pm
BYOB & food allowed
$20 advance, $22 at the door
Heralded as "a living landmark" (Berkeley Express), "a national treasure" (Guitar Extra), and "one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists" (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and a vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times has declared: "Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends."
Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora "Rory" Block grew up in Manhattan in a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. The rich and diverse Village scene was a constant influence on her cultural sensibilities. She was playing guitar by age ten, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park.
During these years, her life was touched - and profoundly changed - by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnson's mentor. She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first-hand his technique and his creativity.
"This period seemed to last forever," Rory recalls nearly forty years later. "I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious."
She left home at 15 with her guitar and a few friends - heading for California on a trip marked by numerous detours and stops in small towns. Along the way, she picked her way through a vast catalog of country blues songs and took her first steps in developing a fingerpicking and slide guitar style that would eventually be her trademark.
Rory took a decade off from music to start a family, then cut a record deal with the Boston-based Rounder label, which released her "High Heeled Blues" in 1981. Rolling Stone referred to the album as "some of the most singular and affecting country blues anyone - man or woman, black or white, old or young - has cut in recent years."
Back in a groove that felt comfortable and fulfilling, Rory threw herself headlong into an ambitious touring schedule that helped hone her technical and vocal skills to a razor's edge, and at the same time nurture a distinctive voice as a songwriter. She stayed with Rounder for the next two decades, making records that simultaneously indulged her affinity for traditional country blues and served as a platform for her own formidable songwriting talents.
The world finally started taking notice in the early 1990s, and Rory scored numerous awards throughout the decade. Her visibility overseas increased dramatically when "Best Blues and Originals," fueled by the single "Lovin' Whiskey," went gold in parts of Europe. She brought home Blues Music Awards four years in a row - two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. Then, in 1997, she won the Blues Music Award for "The Lady and Mr. Johnson," a tribute to Robert Johnson, taking home Acoustic Album of the Year.
Today, after more than twenty highly acclaimed releases and five Blues Music Awards, Rory is at the absolute height of her creative powers, bringing a world full of life lessons to bear on what she calls "a total celebration of my beloved instrument and best friend, the guitar."
SANDYWOODS CENTER FOR THE ARTS (View)
43 Muse Way
Tiverton, RI 02878
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|