I've been seriously playing blues guitar since I was 16 years old. I really took BB King, Albert King and Freddy King to heart. I followed the mighty Glen Schwartz across the state. All in hopes of playing the real thing, real blues.

That brings up the question, what is real blues? So many experts ready to define it for you. So many critics ready to categorize what you like into what they think is real. Don't listen to them. Listen to the music and make your own decision. Don't be told what to like in blues or any thing in life. We get steered and brainwashed 24/7. Throw that mess out.

In my opinion through almost 50 years playing blues professionally, the blues is purely emotion - letting feelings out. The slaves and sharecroppers suffered so much pain, they had to let it out. They let it out in their music and it became the mother music of jazz, rock and country. It influenced all modern music and all of American culture.

You can hear the pain coming out in the guitar solos, when the player pulls the strings until they scream and howl. The minor third, the flat fifths and sevenths let the pain flow right out of you... if you're listening.

But the blues continues to evolve. Not only into other genres like rock and jazz, but in and of itself. The blues genre itself continues to evolve and has become progressive. Robert Johnson lives on in his great music, but we can't copy him, We can't be him. We have to progress with the tools he and the family of great blues artists gave us, the ability to emote and cure pain in life with the blues. The same catharsis, the same honesty, the same realism but with new compositions telling today's stories, healing today's pain and troubles.

The cotton field's agony is now the loneliness and struggle of the single parent, the tragic loss of a house in bankruptcy, a dream buried in a cube office, the war on terror we didn't start, vile politicians betraying us all and the myth that more will make you happy. That's just part of today's cotton field. It's still needs the blues to lance the poison out of us.

My tunes aren't the old 12 bars blues tunes the masters wrote. We have a new story to tell with new kinds of pain to deal with and I'll be there. The blues progresses, We still get the pain out with the new progressive blues.

Gaetano Letizia

"My horse is called Truth" from All I Need on the Voodoo Doll CD 2014

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