Mayall, Blues Awards, Gratitude and Trout
For once I have only a few words to say and pictures that speak for me. I want to share these extraordinary moments from last week with you.
If you ever think that you can’t make a difference, Walter is living proof that the combined will and actions of many can move mountains. The Blues Foundation is another manifestation that love for an art form is not in vain when we band together to protect, honor, preserve, and further awareness.
John Mayall and his miraculous music, yet another such statement: He is out there touring in his mid-eighties with an attitude of a 30 year-old. His synthesis of musical tradition and current inspiration has influenced so many over the past 50+ years with his musical alchemical statements.
I was honored and moved to be asked to induct John Mayall into the Blues Hall of Fame. It was long overdue, and my speech to him was from my heart. Sitting next to him before the ceremony, he pointed to my name and said: “Look, your name is on there next to mine.” I said to him: “Yes, I get to induct you.” He didn’t miss a beat with the driest of British humor: “I hope it doesn’t hurt.”
The next night, much to Walter’s and my total surprise, Walter won two Blues Awards. Wow…
Since Walter couldn’t be there, he was out touring the US, I received them on his behalf.
Now this photo is really powerful to me: Thomas Ruf, who is handing me the award, is the man, who initially believed in Walter’s music enough to release it on his label, Ruf Records, here in the US. He championed Walter’s music and pushed and pushed to get it noticed. And many years, and many albums later, Walter moved on to our current label Mascot Provogue, whose good people now carry the torch onwards and support Walter’s music with their attention every day.
If you look at Thomas’ face, and my hands on his: There was much communication going on in that moment that was not spoken. And it was so joyous to share that moment also with Thomas.
Eric Corne is Walter’s producer. Walter had asked him to accept the award with me as well. Eric has worked with Walter and I on many of the most recent albums – all the way back to Full Circle. He is a dear friend, and someone who works everyday to keep music “real,” raw and authentic. He worked with Walter on When the Blues Came Callin’ and his love and support of Walter as he was getting weaker and sicker, was enormous.
I received Walter’s awards with our son, Dylan. I was so happy to have him with me. And he was happy and moved to feel the love for his dad. And for our family. We felt that love was also very much for Walter’s band: They kept rallying around Walter when he was sick, and now they play each night with incredible power. Their music is so alive, felt, and strong.
The following day, I had been invited in the studio of Blues Radio International. Jesse Finkelstein, the interviewer and owner of the station, helps blues music reach the furthest corners of our planet with interviews and great music. It was the first time I got to spend a full 30 minute interview on my research about blues fans, and the power of blues today. It was really quite an experience for me – the book will be released this year, so help me God!
Thank you to Jay Skolnick for photographically capturing these moments. I hope to post a picture of Walter with his awards later. We are filled with gratitude and charged up to pass on the love in everything we do. That is what it is all about anyway, right?