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    Wolf was more than just a great blues singer. With a unique voice, an imposing physical presence and the willingness to do almost anything to entertain, he influenced a generation of blues-rockers. Wolf was born in central Mississippi, a couple hours east of the Delta area that would spawn Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon (who would later write some of Wolf’s biggest songs), and other blues legends.

    Wild Women Blues: A Black Feminist Legacy... Written by Alynda Segarra of Hurray For The Riff Raff

    Where did The Rolling Stones get the title for their 1970 live album, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out? From Blind Boy Fuller’s 1938 single of the same name. Where did The Grateful Dead get the term “Truckin’”? From Fuller’s 1937 single “Trucking My Blues Away” (later covered by Hot Tuna). Where did Led Zeppelin get the double entendres for “The Lemon Song” and “Custard Pie”? From Fuller’s songs “Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon” and “I Want Some Of Your Pie.” Where did Bob Dylan find the models for “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down” and “Step It Up And Go”? From Fuller’s “Mama, Let Me Lay It on You” and “Step It Up and Go.”

    Some people gravitate towards the blues because of the emotional performances of the artists they’ve heard, the movement of the notes and chord changes, or the lyrics about the highs and (more often) the lows of life we all experience. Then there are some people who don’t choose the blues, but who are chosen by the blues. And sometimes those people get married and start a band.

    Guitar-playing blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s had a lot in common, as so many played slide guitar, and often played in open E or open G (sometimes called “Spanish”) tuning. Many were great but were coming from the same place. And then there was Arthur “Blind” Blake.

    Makin’ Stuff Up – Kissing Cousins: Country And Blues

    Our March/April 2015 contest winner Clint McKnight discusses his winning choices for our last issue’s Deathbed contest. Be sure to enter the May/June 2015 contest by submitting your top 10 British albums for a chance to win Martin DRSGT and 000RSFT Guitars and SP Lifespan Acoustic Guitar Strings.

    It’s pretty commonplace to think of Robert Johnson as “The King of the Delta Blues,” if not simply as the source from which all blues derive. But we often ignore the truth when the legend becomes more compelling. I mean, how can you not be sucked into a story in which a musician seemingly struck a deal with the devil to achieve greatness?

    Patrick Sweany: House of Blues

    Just a few months after he quit his job washing dishes in Texas, Leon Bridges was on stage in front of a sold-out crowd at the Mercury Lounge, a venue that frequently showcases some of the most talked-about buzz acts in the country, in New York City. At the time of the concert, he had released two songs.

    “Lady Sings The Blues” wasn’t only the title of one of Billie Holiday’s most memorable songs, but also her autobiography and the 1977 movie biopic that earned Diana Ross a Best Actress Oscar nomination. However, perhaps a more accurate name would have been “Lady Lived The Blues,” since Holiday’s notoriously turbulent life was infused in her impassioned, often mesmerizing singing.

    If you asked a teenage Thurston Moore if he thought he’d end up a demigod in the eyes of scores of punk fans, he likely would have said you were dreaming.

    “Shit I basically just re-wrote ‘Handshake Drugs’ by Wilco,” wrote Courtney Barnett on her Facebook page in the summer of 2012, a full year before the Australian singer-songwriter would begin receiving international acclaim and adoration for her uniquely offbeat, stream of consciousness songwriting.

    If your author can make a confession: It seems like a minor miracle that there’s a second Diamond Rugs record to even write about. The last time I ran into the Rugs, en masse, it was the Sunday morning of South by Southwest 2012 and I had spent the last four days embedded with their crew. With the exception of impeccably cool sax player, producer, and rock and roll legend Steve Berlin, everybody in the crew was a waste of space, puddles of hangover where human beings had once been.

    Our March/April 2015 cover story is now live.

    “I feel like I’m in a very positive place in my life right now,” he says. “I just turned 30 and I’m getting married this summer to my partner. I’ve been with her for a long time. It’s just a very happy time for me.” But such fulfillment can be precarious, and these songs sound like Joe Pug the songwriter leaving messages for Joe Pug the touring musician, who’ll be performing these songs for many hard tours to come.

    Jessica Pratt is making up for lost time.

    March/April 2015 Digital Edition Now Available Tablet owners, the wait is over: the March/April 2015 edition is now available for download! The print edition doesn't hit stands until March 10, but you can start reading our “Rock Issue” whenever you’d like.

    One year, one internship, a few dozen album premieres and a bachelor’s degree later, I now work as a writer and editorial assistant at American Songwriter. As a recent college graduate, people are always asking me what my dream job is, and I never have to think twice about my answer: this one. Working at American Songwriter has afforded me the opportunity to talk about the thing I love most with some of the artists I love most

    "I remember my first day at American Songwriter as an intern. I’d been instructed to answer the phone and respond to a few emails while most everyone was out for lunch. Moments later, two scruffy guys walked in the front door. “We’re here to see Caine.” I pointed them in the right direction and not long after, I was invited to join their intimate office session. These two scruffy guys were the Milk Carton Kids..."

    Townes Van Zandt recorded just nine studio albums from his debut album in 1968 until his death in 1997, but those albums are so jam-packed with impeccable songs that it makes choosing just 20 of them a nearly impossible task. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect way to celebrate this strikingly unique and highly influential songwriter.

    I pulled into my new city the way most recent design grads do. Brimming with dipshit confidence that companies – for me specifically: magazines – were lying in wait to snatch up new talent. That I would have my choice of the lot was a foregone conclusion. Sure, I may have to start as a JUNIOR Blah Blah or something … you know, prove my mettle, but an eventual Art Director-ship was inevitable.

    "Most of the best things in my life came about by accident, and getting the opportunity to work with American Songwriter was no different."