“M-U-S-I-C! IT’S ALL MUSIC,” says Buddy Guy about being inducted into The Rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame. In my interview with Buddy (See page 26), he ticks off some of the music labels like Chicago blues, Delta blues, Motown, Memphis. “When B. B. and others first came out, there was just Muddy Waters and his band, B. B. King and his orchestra. They wasn’t separate as blues players. Forget about rock’n’roll. My name is being mentioned with some of the greats, and that’s good enough for me.”
That’s how we feel about Elmore Magazine. Sure, Elmore was Elmore James’ first name, and he pretty much wrote the book on the kind of slide guitar Stevie Ray Vaughan played, and was a fairly unheralded influence on much of today’s rock guitar. But we think it’s just as important that “blues” does not appear in our name. And if we take on a kind of Blues Brothers Messianic zeal with our “Saving American Music” tag, so be it.
We also have a sense of humor about the music.We just don’t care if some of what we report doesn’t fit the straitjacket that some would put around “blues.” Heck, Arnie Goodman writes about John Mayall in this issue. John’s British. He makes American music, and he was instrumental in saving the genre from extinction in the United States, its country of origin. But he does it with a British accent.
Scott Alarik writes about three generations of the Seegers and the Guthries. Are they folk? Are they blues? Who cares? It’s good m-u-s-i-c. These families have spent nearly a century writing theme songs for America. Carl Gustafson, our Mark Twain of the 21st century, writes in his column Kickin’ in Your Stall about the prejudices of jazz and blues junkies. He captures the insanity of the walls some put up around categories. As Jimbo Mathus says with a grin, when all you can see in front of him are wiggling bodies, “It’s all good!”
Another quality we hope you feel coming back at you from the pages of Elmore is the kind of excitement we used to feel as a kid when the local radio station released its weekly top-10 list. The sense of discovery and the desire to see and hear what’s over the next hill are still qualities that make the music experience exciting. Our job is to become your point person in helping to usher you over that hill. We consider it an honor and just plain fun to look into the future and assist you in feeling some of that excitement.
Perhaps most important,we’re coming to you. Many music magazines boast special “festival” issues. This often means a list of festivals and maybe some contact information. We begin where they end. Not only do we have inserts for select festivals packed with stage-by-stage schedules and artist bios, but we also offer information about the area for those of you traveling from out of town. And we’re there when you get to the event handing out copies of Elmore. Look for us.
— Donald E. Wilcock