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
"It is difficult to describe the transformation that took place as this smiling, friendly man hunched over his guitar and launched himself, bodily it seemed, into his music. The blues possessed him like a 'lowdown shaking chill' and the spellbound audience saw the very incarnation of the blues as, head thrown back, he hollered and groaned the disturbing lyrics and flailed the guitar, snapping the strings back against the fingerboard to accentuate the agonized rhythm. Son's music is the centre of the blues experience and when he performs it is a corporeal thing, audience and singer become as one." - Bob Groom/Blues World
"In the years before World War II, Son House created some of the purest, most powerful Mississippi Delta blues on record. Playing with partners Charley Patton and Willie Brown, he exerted a profound influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, both of whom copied his music and carried it to new generations. House's influence still echoes through the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and many other musicians, and in many respects, he is the true father of what's known today as deep blues."- Jas Obrecht
In this lesson Tom Feldmann takes you step by step through 15 classic Son House tunes that span every phase of Son's recorded career. This 4 hour lesson is undoubtedly the most extensive look into the music of Son House and the techniques he developed. DISC ONE highlights 8 songs in Spanish tuning. While DISC TWO focuses on 7 songs using the Vestapol tuning (Open D), Standard, and most surprising to students of House's playing, Cross-Note tuning with Clarksdale Moan.
Also included on DISC TWO is a bonus interview with Stefan Grossman where he talks extensively about meeting Son House and recording with him. Rare performances of Son House following his rediscovery are used throughout the lesson. The original audio tracks are included where footage is not used.
Titles Include: OPEN G TUNING: Death Letter Blues, My Black Mama, Low Down Dirty Dog Blues, The Jinx Blues, Special Rider Blues, Walkin' Blues (from 1930), Dry Spell Blues, County Farm Blues OPEN D TUNING: Shetland Pony Blues, Preachin' The Blues, This Little Light of Mine, CROSS-NOTE TUNING: Clarksdale Moan, STANDARD TUNING: Depot Blues, Am I Right Or Am I Wrong, Walkin' Blues (from 1940's)
240 minutes - Level 2/3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: The Guitar of Bukka White/T he 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
Review: On quite a roll from tackling bedrock country bluesmen as far and wide as Fred McDowell, Kokomo Arnold, Barbecue Bob and Mississippi John Hurt, six-string professor Tom Feldmann is now gunning for Son House. And he's outdone himself honoring the godfather of deep Delta blues with this master class. Luxuriating across four hours of step-by-step guidance, the two DVDs are the exact guitar tutorial Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters would've killed for when originally struggling to decipher their idol's technique and repertoire. Because Feldmann's got all the moves worked out, from the slideless "Jinx Blues" to "Death Letter Blues" with a slide riff just as killer as its macabre imagery. Even to the heart-stabbed "Low Down Dirty Dog Blues." Saddled with such fret-rattling misery, House wasn't exactly a Mississippi merrymaker. He was more about gripping you by the throat with brutal themes, then bruising your soul with strings traumatically snapped, bent up, shoved down and sheared with whip-crack bottleneck flourishes. But besides woodshedding time, The Guitar Of Son House also saves you tens of thousands of dollars by including the ultra-ultra-rare Paramount sides "Clarksdale Moan" and "Mississippi County Farm Blues" among its 15 dissected songs. Twenty three of House's original audio recordings (including that wickedly expensive pair) are stuffed into the bonus goodies, along with priceless film of him in mesmerizing action, an entertaining conversation with Stefan Grossman who recorded with him and a tab/ music/lyric booklet. All but Son's string tie and hulking brass slide are inside here. - Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag