Folklorist, ethnomusicologist and musician Alan Lomax once said, "You can't kill off a culture until you kill the last person who carries it." That statement resonates deep within Tom Feldmann as for nearly half his life he has carried on the traditions of the acoustic country blues and gospel music recorded in the 1920's and 30's.
Minnesota native Tom Feldmann taught himself to play guitar at age 17 after hearing the recordings of the pioneers of acoustic country blues and states, "Mississippi John Hurt taught me to pick, Fred McDowell taught me to play slide and the mighty Son House taught me to sing." His debut solo album was released in 1999 and Tom has since spent the years writing, touring and recording his own original gospel compositions as well as carrying on the tradition of solo acoustic country blues.
Over the last few years, Tom has shifted the focus of his attention from his own writing to the music of the many legendary bluesmen that inspired him to pick up the guitar all those years ago. This journey has resulted in a series of CD's, starting with Tribute (2010) and now continues with Lone Wolf Blues (2012). It also resulted in a string of instructional DVD's for Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop that have received rave reviews and distribution around the world.
featuring Fred McDowell, Robert Wilkins, Bukka White, Blind Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie McTell, Edward W. Clayborn and Charlie Patton
Many southern blues musicians performed and recorded gospel songs; spirituals or church songs as they were called. Some, like Blind Willie Johnson and Edward W. Clayborn, strictly adhered to a religious message earning them the handle “guitar evangelists”, while others, like Fred McDowell and Charlie Patton, blurred the socially imposed lines and mingled gospel with the blues.
In this anthology of Bottleneck Gospel Guitar Tom Feldmann highlights the fervent and aggressive slide playing of Fred McDowell, Robert Wilkins, Muddy Waters, Bukka White, Blind Willie Johnson, Edward W. Clayborn and Charlie Patton. Each player offers a distinct style and Tom breaks down their techniques allowing you to imitate the masters as well as build a repertoire of classic bottleneck gospel blues.
A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD. In addition the original old recordings of all the tunes are included.
Titles include: OPEN D TUNING: FRED McDOWELL Jesus Is On The Mainline ROBERT WILKINS Wished I Was In Heaven MUDDY WATERS Why Don’t You Live So God Can Use You BUKKA WHITE I Am In The Heavenly Way BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine BLIND WILLIE McTELL I Got To Cross That River of Jordan OPEN G TUNING: EDWARD W. CLAYBORN Gospel Train Is Coming and There’ll Be Glory CHARLIE PATTON Lord I’m Discouraged and I’m Going Home
104 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Got Religion? Tom Feldmann's Bottleneck Gospel Guitar's got gobs of it, testifying up nasty licks in the name of the Lord. And, on his DVD lesson, the Minnesota slide whiz patiently shares step-by-step instruction to 10 such offerings from that blurry sinner-saint zone where bluesmen (like Fred McDowell and Blind Willie McTell) dabbled in gospel and gospel men (Revs. Edward Clayborn and Robert Wilkins) dabbled in blues. You'll learn how to make a slide vocalize "Lord, I'm Discouraged,""I Got To Cross That River Of Jordan" and Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's Fault But Mine." How to gash "Wished I Was In Heaven" with glassy stabs. And how to invoke Bukka White's immediately recognizable fishtailing chug or some Charley Patton fatalism in "I'm Going Home" (aka "Prayer Of Death - Part 1"). The sacred shocker? Muddy Waters - yes, Muddy Waters' "Why Don't You Live So God Can Use You," originally recorded in his Mississippi sharecropper's shack back in 1942. Plus, always count on Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop to add extra bells and whistles to any lesson. Here it's a bonus audio library with all the original songs, along with video of Son House in full rapture, clapping up and stomping out that Muddy gospel. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag