The late autumn just turns into an early winter atmosphere. Do you know what I mean? The leaves are still falling from the trees, still rocking quietly in the wind. But the air already feels a little colder, although it is somewhat warm out. Not an airless warmth, a fresh warmth. Once in a while a crisp breeze of wind strokes over your cheeks, tousles your hair. You know that snow is coming soon. And then: There they are, the very first snowflakes. Falling heroically from the sky, like little white angles, able to prepossess you with whatever you wish for. Imagine you are sitting in a comfortable living room. Imagine you are able to literally watch the change from the falling leaves to the dance of the softly and quiet swaying snowflakes out of your window. What kind of music would you have in your mind? What kind of music would accompany you watching that miracle?
It’s is a question that kept me thinking for a very long time: What does blues music mean to me? In what situation would I like to listen to nothing but blues played only by a guitar? I am a person who often enjoys ‘straight-in-your-face-music’: loud, fast, hard, danceable, funny, aggressive, big orchestras, lots of noise-making instruments, screaming riot voices. Or ‘now-it’s-time-to-build-a-cave-out-of pillows-and-blankets-and-hide-music’: very sad, very depressive, very long songs, soft electro-parts. I always wondered, what folksy, rootsy blues music played only by a guitar would mean to me. I am not saying these are the only types of music that exist or that I know off. But, from all the possibilities in between my two extremes, I especially was wondering about blues music played only by a guitar. Maybe it is, because a lot of people in the past have asked for my opinion on this kind of music. Maybe it is, because I never came across an answer which satisfied the both of us, me and the inquirer. It might be a weird thing to think about. Especially since blues can be played with other instruments too. I can’t really tell you, why it crossed my mind. But, I really want to find an answer to my question. And then: On a Thursday evening I went to Beth’s house to see another Home Roots show.
Those events are clearly my favorite kind of shows. They always seem to have a magical atmosphere. The relationship between listener and musician is very personal. Something you can’t experience during a regular concert. Dakota Dave Hull is about to play, he is sitting in Beth’s living room, surrounded by his five guitars, ready to go. He is an older man, with a hat, glasses, suspenders and a Hawaiian shirt with parrots on it. He grew up in North Dakota. Dave picks up one of his guitars and starts to play exactly the music I have been thinking about for so long: rootsy guitar tunes, mostly played in rag time and blues. He plays very quiet, very soft. Then he switches, gets surprisingly loud and a little harder, but never aggressive. He always plays with grand care and aesthesia. Dave’s fingers on the strings remind me of little kids jumping back and forth in complete excitement. He creates soft melodies, like a blanket you want to wrap yourself in. His music leaves warmth and has a special happy undertone. Do you know what I mean? Even if some of his melodies make you feel sad at the beginning, you will find joy, hope and happiness at the end of every song. Feelings are floating through the room. You can feel them, touch them, catch them.
When I closed my eyes I found this picture: The late autumn is turning into winter. The leaves are turning into snowflakes. Suddenly it got quiet in the room. The music must have stopped a little while ago. Once I realized Dave was done, I missed his music right away. His soft, happy, somewhat sweet and childish sounding, innocent guitar playing. And I realized: I found the blues.
- Nine Muster
Check out Dakota Dave Hull’s website here: www.dakotadavehull.com