Things I learned from B.B. King’s music

Eric Garland Culture Trends, Music 1 Comment

Choose your phrases carefully. Better say one thing well than just run off at the mouth.

It’s all about dynamics. If you want them to care when you start shouting, you need to whisper too.

We all have the same twelve notes, it’s about the feeling you put behind them, and your sense of taste in assembling them into language. B.B. Is playing the same G as you, but he just sounds better, man. Ask why that is. Find out what he knows about that G that you don’t.

Everyone’s career will come and go. Even B.B. went out of style in the 70s and early 80s. But because he stuck to his guns and never changed who he was, the world – starting with new kids Stevie Ray Vaughn and U2 – made damn certain that the people knew where The Good Stuff came from.

Maybe you don’t need a new guitar. In fact, you just need to put more soul into the one you have.

If you’ve really got the goods, you can share the spotlight. I remember the show I saw with Buddy Guy and B.B. King and both were content for their sidemen to take lots of amazing solos because – dude – ain’t nobody gonna outshine Buddy and B.B. They could just stand on stage, smile at their colleagues, and embody The Blues.

B.B. King was the embodiment of Duke Ellington’s quote that there were only two kinds of music: the Good Kind and the Bad Kind. B.B. played the Good Kind. He was so real, even people who didn’t technically like blues music, or might never attend a blues festival, they still loved B.B. King, the embodiment of great American music.

B.B. King was only ever wrong about one thing: the thrill *isn’t* gone – not from his music, not ever. He will be in the pantheon of American artists for decades and hopefully centuries to come, a true original who reflected that which is eternal in all great art.