KEXP Suggests: I Am the Blues at SIFF Film Center 8/11-8/13

SIFF is bringing I Am The Blues to Seattle this weekend, and it is well worth a look. Bobby Rush lays out his life story as he returns to the Blue Front Cafe in Mississippi and a reunion gig in Louisiana. Watching him travel The South and greet friends like Lazy Lester, Henry Gray, Barbara Lynn, and many others shows his warm charisma and deep commitment to his life’s work. Bobby points out that he is fully independent as an artist, controlling his own business without a record company behind him.

I Am The Blues captures the look and feel of our delta and bayou areas in a musical snapshot as we are invited into the homes, halls, and bars of several rhythm and blues icons. Storytelling is the centerpiece of the conversations and songs, and the film is rich with intense visual images. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes comes off great, and even Carol Fran has plenty of fire left as she ad-libs humorous lyrics. Food and family surround the musicians, and we are left with a lingering impression of a unique corner of American culture that is both haunting and comforting. Lazy Lester brings it all home as he signs an early photo of himself and says, “I didn’t think I would make it this far.”

Johnny Horn is the host of Preachin’ the Blues on KEXP, every Sunday morning from 9:00 AM to Noon.

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