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.
Mississippi John Hurt is certainly renowned for his blues songs, whether tales of murder like Stack O'Lee and Frankie or the tongue-in-cheek Candy Man Blues, yet it is his gospel songs that may more accurately reflect the heart of the man himself; gentle yet powerful, simple yet substantial.
In this lesson Tom Feldmann takes you step by step through Mississippi John Hurt's most celebrated and inspiring gospel songs in the keys of G, C, D and E. Whether beginner or intermediate you will learn to pick in the distinctive "Hurt" style and build a large repertoire of classic gospel country 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: Do Lord Remember Me, Here I Am Oh Lord Send Me, Blind Man Sit In The Way And Cried, Since I've Laid My Burden Down, Weeping and Wailing, Blessed Be The Name, Praying On The Old Camp Ground, Nearer My God To Thee, Beulah Land and Oh Mary Don't You Weep
104 minutes - Level 2 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: There's something transcendent about Mississippi John Hurt's music. The simplicity, power, and gentle precision of his style, whether playing gospel classics, such as "Do Lord Remember Me" or murder ballads like "Stack O' Lee," are unparalleled in the blues archives. Though Hurt may be better known for his blues than his gospel, it's really quite difficult to separate the two; his blues are infused with gospel and his gospel infected with blues. Hurt had his own very personal style and it permeated all the music he played. In the opening moments of this instructional DVD, Tom Feldmann describes his own experience upon first listening to John Hurt. Having previously immersed himself in the grittier styles of Lightning Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters, the music of John Hurt offered Feldmann a new vista on the blues. Mississippi John Hurt's music, Feldmann notes, is perfect for the novice fingerstyle guitarist. But the truth is these humble guitar pieces would bring joy to pickers on any level of expertise. It's just great music and great fun to play. And Feldmann, a gentle guide whose personality and approach reflect his subject, has that style down. He takes you step by step through the gospel classics "Do Lord Remember Me,""Since I Laid My Burden Down,""Nearer My God to Thee," the powerful "Mary Don't You Weep," and many others, all in the familiar keys of G, C, E, and D. There are nine songs altogether. Two added and absolutely essential features to the DVD are a PDF of all the tabs and the original recordings of the songs. The "Gospel Guitar of Mississippi John Hurt" is another superior product from Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop. - Chip O'Brien/Minor 7th
Review: If Mississippi John Hurt's gentleman guitar could transplant a warmly pulsing heart-of-gold into cold killers like "Frankie" and "Stack 0' Lee," just think what its calming charm could do with divine inspiration? If that most humble of blues power worked for the Lord, the undertow from those trademark pick-and-roll moves tugging along more heavenly subject matter instead? Imagine the softest of angel wings (disguised as waltzing C chords) whisking "Weeping And Wailing" or a kindly bass bump shepherding "Blessed Be The Name" with laid back urgency. "Blind Man Sit In The Way And Cried" attains its grace through the most modest of means, playing impressive hopscotch across the strings with only a G chord. Fabulous. So by teaching the technical how-to behind The Gospel Guitar of Mississippi John Hurt, Tom Feldmann, essentially, also ends up teaching the Zen of fingerpicking. That's why the chapel chug of "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" is as much an inner-peacemaker as is the drone of "Do Lord Remember Me" singing every syllable. A tab/ music/lyric booklet, slow-motion split-screen views of left and right hand action and all ten original Hurt recordings help pave the road to six-string enlightenment that'll settle the soul, but stir the feet. - Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag