Improve Your Playing with these 11 Acoustic Blues Artists • Acoustic Tuesday 287

Think you know the blues? Think you know acoustic blues? Chances are you haven’t heard these insanely good blues guitars. It’s time to get inspired.

In this episode, we’ll be exploring 11 phenomenal acoustic blues artists who will not only inspire you but also help you play better. I’ve handpicked these legends from all corners of the U.S. and spanning the last 100 years, to give you a true taste of acoustic blues history. 

Featuring breathtaking concert footage and unforgettable recordings, you’ll experience the incredible artistry of these musicians up close and personal. Some of the notable names we’ll be discussing include the likes of Robert Belfour, Barbecue Bob, Charley Patton, and Mississippi John Hurt — just to name a few. 

So grab your guitar, sit back, and get ready to be inspired by the captivating sounds of these acoustic blues masters. Whether you’re an experienced player or just starting out, you’ll walk away with new insights and a fresh perspective on your own playing.

Submit your guitarsenal at the link below!

Featured in this episode…
– Old Town School of Folk Music  
– Fretboard Journal  
– Andy Hall
– Mule Resophonic Guitars
– Pisgah Banjo Company
– Rhiannon Giddens  
– Wondrium  

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  1. Tony – First, on your teaching methods, my wife is an educator and we believe one of the hallmarks of a great teacher is that they can deliver the same message or lesson in so many different ways, voicing’s, I guess one might say, without ever repeating themselves or sounding trite or tiresome. You are so proficient at expressing positivity and growth for one’s guitar journey without ever sounding the same and I really appreciate that aspect of your daily lessons.

    Second, on the AT’s and artists, I love the way you always seem to include a clip of someone playing a lick or technique that is a theme for the week – Cue David “Honeyboy” Edwards and his use of vibrato this week.

    Last, a couple of weeks ago during the show you asked for suggestions for a new hockey goalie jersey, and this week the playoffs. How about something mythical and magical like Seattle Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer? Maybe you could even come up with your own theme song or riff for the mythical beast and make it musical, as well. And, despite how the broadcast commentator’s pronounce the name, Merriam-Webster prefers krä-kən. A little sea-green in your beard and you might even be mistaken for the denizen of the depths. Maybe some kind of rolling deep water blues in the key of sea?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and empowering message!

  2. As ever, great show.
    You have to check out Thomas Fraser, from The Shetland Islands. Look into his life story. Truly awesome.

  3. AMA: Would you ever consider doing a guitar retreat/camp for TAC members? It would be fun to get together with other TAC members and learn a few things and maybe jam together. I just drove through Bozeman last week and it is a cool city (literally, as it was snowing at the time!-mid April). Would love to have another reason to come back!

  4. Wow did I perk up when you pulled up that picture of Malcome Subban at House of Guitars in! I was in Rochester last summer and made a pilgrimage to House of Guitars. Tony, you must go there! The fact you didn’t wax poetic about the amazing and unique atmosphere and inventory at HOG leads me to believe you have not been initiated. They have an incredible inventory stuffed into the most cramped and chaotic space imaginable. It is a mind altering experience for any guitar geek and music lover. Not to mention the incredible number of celebs and performing artists who swing by and purchase instruments there. All in the sleepy little western NY rust belt city of Rochester. Every self respecting guitar geek should go! Bring your credit card, empty the savings account, mortgage the house before you walk in the door. You won’t believe the number of guitars you will want to add to your guitarsenal. Oh yeah – great list of old time acoustic blues players. Most are new to me. Some rabbit hole listening is in my future.

  5. Etta Baker!! Are you kidding me? I had never heard of hear and now I can’t get enough…She is incredible. Her beautiful old fingers just work the ax so effortlessly. Its like watching your grandma shred. Thanks for the introduction to this legend. I also really dug Furry Lewis, very unique style. I’m sure you have Leadbelly and John Lee Hooker on your list, 2 greats. Thanks for a great Tuesday Tony…Go Bruins!!

  6. I have been a David Johansen fan since a friend gave me his beat up copy of The NY Dolls first album, way back in the 70’s. I just watched Martin Scorsese’s new Documentary “Personality Crisis : For one night only”. A documentary and performance by / about him. One of David Jo’s Alter Ego’s was his band The Harry Smith’s. I thought Harry Smith was a blues guy. But I found out, that among other things he was a music fan. And he Curated . The Smithsonian Folkways Recordings “Anthology of American Folk Music”. The Harry Smiths covered a bunch of these songs over two albums and they are highly recommended. David Johansen is an incredible singer and his band is phenomenal as well. I haven’t heard the original recordings, but David Johansen’s Harry Smith’s albums will transport you back in time . But be prepared, It’s a humbling journey , with more than its fair share of grief & struggle.

  7. Neat show!
    Rev. Gary Davis
    Lightin’ Hopkins
    BB King
    Blind Willie McTell
    Sonny Boy Williamson
    Charlie Musselwhite – Harmonica
    Rory Block
    …and as you mentioned Mississippi John Hurt.
    Thanks!!! 🙂

  8. Tony,

    As a blues lover thanks for the introduction to a number of artists I haven’t heard of previously. I knew of a couple but not many. I would like to add the names Memphis Minny and James ‘Yank’ Rachell to the conversation. Great show as usual, keep up the great work. Regards from the Land Downunder.

  9. Hello from Oshawa Ontario Canada. Here is a lady who is a blues singer and guitarist and she is also Canadian from Kingston Ontario, she has a beautiful voice and is a great guitar player and her name is Miss Emily and her three guitarist on her CD Live at the Isabel,are Van Sheen, Rob Baker and James McKenty. I was introduced to Miss Emily by the band Downchild Blues Band, when she opened for them. Thanks Tony for the list you gave us.

  10. AMA – Hi Tony, What exercise do you recommend for developing accuracy picking individual strings. I’m trying to develop accuracy, not speed. Thanks in advance

  11. AMA Tony and TAC Family. Etta Baker she’s great and cool and made it look so easy, can you teach Us her Technique on a Monday, Her licks on a Tuesday so we can improvise on Wednesday and learn Her rhythm on Thursday? Friday put it all chords together. With Her no name song on episode 287 was just so Holy Smokes N Cool Tony Thank you. Mark (aka Olddog)

  12. AMA
    Tony, Love your show! I’ve been playing about a year now after laying it down for over twenty years. I was searching for some warm up exercises to help speed and accuracy of my playing. Do you have any suggestions?

  13. AMA – Tone, to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Dark Side of the Moon, when are you going to structure a week (or more) of lessons based on some of the awesome acoustic guitar music and techniques from Pink Floyd and solo guitarist David Gilmour?

  14. AMA: Ask me anything. Okay Tony, Here are some questions. Would you consider teaching at any of the music camps in the area? Specificcaly PSGW, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, which is not that far from you in Bozeman. Or CCMC, the California Coast Music Camp, which is farther away in northern California. (Walker Creek Music Camp is also in that general area also.) Or the Swananoa Gathering, or Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp? Or the California Bluegrass Association Music Camp held around Father’s Day just east of Sacramento? If you taught from Sunday through Wednesday before father’s day, there is the bonus of staying for the CBA’s music festival Thursday through Father’s Day.
    Is there any thought of resurecting the Acoustic Life Festival you hosted for a couple of years prior to Covid disrupting our lives?
    Sorry for all the questions, but it might be nice to see you in person at a week long retreat. Thank you.

  15. Just fyi, the reason some of the birthdates and years are hard to nail down is because in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the South they didn’t keep good records for black people whether born at home or in a house behind the hospital where black people received treatment most of the time. Just thought you’d be interested to know that. There were several relatives in my family that we had to estimate their birth years at the time of their deaths based on discussions with them regarding family and world events. They themselves could only give us their best guess as to their birth year or 3 to 4 year range in a couple of instances, if they were still alert as they grew to very old ages sometimes.