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
Charlie Patton, considered the “Father of the Delta Blues,” is generally recognized as the most influential blues artist active in the first decades of the twentieth century. No single individual can be credited with “inventing” the Delta blues style but Patton was one of the first mainstream stars of the Delta blues genre. Old fashioned and modern at the same time, Patton's music bridged the musical traditions of the 19th century while simultaneously creating a framework of his own that would inspire just about every other blues musician from that point on.
In this double DVD lesson, Tom Feldmann gives you a detailed look at 18 of Patton's most celebrated tunes. Making this the definitive Charlie Patton lesson. DVD One is dedicated to songs in standard tuning, covering C, E, A and F positions. You'll learn Patton's relaxed right hand strum, top tapping technique, and of course his signature licks as you work through songs like, Down The Dirt Road Blues and Pony Blues.
DVD Two focuses in Patton's bottleneck slide and non slide numbers in Spanish (Open G) and Vestapol (Open D) turnings. Songs like, Banty Rooster Blues, When Your Way Get's Dark and Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues will become heavy hitters in your blues arsenal.
A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on both DVD's. In addition the original recordings of all the tunes are included.
Titles include: Poor Me, Down the Dirt Road Blues, Green River Blues, Jim Lee Blues, Some of These Days I'll Be Gone, Pony Blues, Devil Sent the Rain, Shake It and Break, Tom Rushen Blues, High Sheriff Blues, Hammer Blues (Take 1 & 2), Banty Rooster Blues, Mississippi Bo Weavil Blues, When Your Way Get's Dark, Pea Vine Blues, Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues, High Water Everywhere (Take 1 & 2), A Spoonful Blues
253 minutes • Level 3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Warning: Do not misinterpret the bow tie worn in his ancient portrait. Beneath, the grand master flash of all Delta blues-bedrock Charlie Patton was a "rock star" decades before rock became a devilish glimmer in the blues' eyes. When your prototypical playing style and whiskey-n-women lifestyle recruit a Mississippi dream team of apostles in Son House, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and quintessential crossroad "friend Willie Brown," you are the man. Singing, you can hear gravel being ground in his throat (don't miss the bonus audio with Patton's records). Combine that with how he struck a guitar, and you make dynamite. Up to then, the 1920s never experienced anything like that: whacking the instrument's body for even extra rhythm, as its strings got violently snapped or deeply stabbed by a slide on its way down to the 17th fret. Patton was even Hendrix before Hendrix, hot-dogging plantation gigs by flipping his axe into the air, playing behind his back, then between his legs. You're on your own for the circus acrobatics, but country blues authority Tom Feldmann has got you covered for all the rest. It takes two DVDs, in fact, for him to break down, step-by-step, Patton's method, licks, tricks and 18 classics. Feldmann is a revelator bare-handing the beautifully aching "Some Of These Days I'll Be Gone," then bottlenecking the monster cotton patch smashes "Screamin' & Hollerin' the Blues" and "Pony Blues." Back in the day, you'd have to sell your soul at the crossroads for four hours of detailed how-to instruction like this. – Blues Rag/Dennis Rozanski