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.
"Tom Feldmann is an instrumentalist of the first degree, renowned among guitarists as an instructor and preservationist. No one can teach Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Skip James or Bukka White better than Feldmann, a master fingerpicker and slide guitarist." – Living Blues
Bukka White's slashing slide figures and pounding chords are capable of generating a high level of excitement, capable of leaving dancers joyously exhausted. Yet there is also a sensitivity and a sense of dynamics to his music. Bukka's lyrics ran the gamut from the perceptive to the surreal. The combination of these two voices places Bukka squarely within the blues tradition and in his own unique niche.
In this lesson Tom Feldmann takes you through 10 of Bukka White's tunes. Starting off in Vestapol tuning you'll get his right hand, train beat picking down pat with Special Streamline. Next you'll learn to master playing in Cross-Note tuning with Jitterbug Swing, Aberdeen Mississippi Blues, World Boogie and Sic Em Dogs On.
Bukka's approach to Cross-Note tuning set him apart from his contemporaries and will add a new depth to your own playing. You'll learn Bukka's trick of dampening the 3rd string, behind the slide as well as his signature “Spank the Baby” technique, a real crowd pleaser. Moving into Open G tuning you'll learn Poor Boy, Fixin' To Die Blues and Gibson Hill. The lesson finishes with When Can I Change My Clothes and Strange Place Blues in Standard Tuning.
These carefully selected songs where chosen on the basis that Bukka used similar patterns for many of his songs and by learning these 10 you're really learning his entire recorded works. The original old recordings of all the tunes are included.
Titles include: OPEN D TUNING: Special Streamline CROSS-NOTE TUNING: Jitterbug Swing, Aberdeen Mississippi Blues, World Boogie, Sic Em Dogs On OPEN G TUNING: Poor Boy, Fixin' To Die Blues, Gibson Hill STANDARD TUNING: When Can I Change My Clothes, Strange Place Blues
112 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Pound for blue pound, Bukka White gave ol' Son House a run for the money as being Mississippi's most visually spellbinding guitar man. And, for that matter, its most physical, too. (Charley Patton's heart gave out in '34 before film could visually validate all the fabled hearsay for his run at the title.) Slide or no slide White's huge hands led all-out attacks on the strings, beating out the fishtailing swing behind “World Boogie” and “Fixin' To Die Blues,” never once stopping the thrust to accommodate razored bottleneck breaks. The steel body of resonator guitars (like House, White was a National man) didn't fare any better, enduring no less brutalization. For proof, check out the included vintage footage, especially “Aberdeen Mississippi Blues” receiving his signature 'spank the baby' maneuver, a fine piece of hot-dogging if ever there was. For Bukka, playing guitar was war set to a driving, danceable rhythm. Now you too can make guitars shudder in fear. Because Tom Feldmann has been picking off all the great country bluesmen one-by-one, dissecting their technique and repertoire on DVD for fellow players. In just shy of two hours, The Guitar Of Bukka White dismantles ten classics to illuminate all of White's quintessential elements, which then build everything from his prison yard soliloquy “When Can I Change My Clothes” (validated by a stay on Parchman Farm for gunning a man down) to his chugging hobo opera “Streamline Special” (complete with air brakes and other guitar-made railroad sound effects) to that 'spanking' ”Aberdeen.“ – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag
Review: The Guitar of Bukka White/The Guitar of Son House: Yes, these DVDs show you how to play guitar in the style of Mississippi Delta bluesmen Son House and Bukka White. But thanks to master teacher Tom Feldmann, they are so much more. Feldmann is on a roll of late. He's proven himself an able revivalist and interpreter of classic blues and gospel fingerpicking and slide on several solo recordings, including his latest, Lone Wolf Blues, recently lauded in Vintage Guitar Magazine. His series of how-to DVDs are exemplary, and also include releases on Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Willie Johnson, gospel blues including Charlie Patton and others, and a general guide to bottleneck slide.
Feldmann's DVDs get deep into the deep blues. He analyses the musical style, how House and White approached a song and made it their own. His instruction is intermixed with rare filmed performances of the bluesmen and original audio tracks wherever possible. On the two-DVD House set, he deconstructs 15 songs: 8 in open G tuning, 3 in open D, 1 in cross-note, and 3 in standard. These songs cover all aspects of House's career, from the classic 30s and 40s recordings through his rediscovery. The White DVDs follow the same approach and scope.
The Son House DVD runs four hours while the Bukka White lesson runs over two hours. These are in truth, detailed documentary films on the mechanics of House and White's playing - documentaries no mainstream production company would ever dream of making, but ideal for diehard guitarists. You might even sit down some evening with a shot of whiskey, your dog curled up at your feet, and just watch for fun and edification. But remember, you can learn to play from them as well. – Michael Dregni/Vintage Guitar Magazine