Posted by on November 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm

My name is Josh Noble and in May I finished my 3 years at uni with First class Honours degree in History. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying it was no secret to my peers and lecturers that my true passion was music and I continued to pursue my ambition to become a professional musician throughout my time at Huddersfield. During my second year I decided to take on music full-time signing a management deal and subsequently toured Europe and the UK with my band Larkins. Fortunately, the risk payed off and after a debut sell-out tour and gaining front page exposure on the Manchester Evening News the band began to blossom with plays on BBC introducing and Radio 2 and then gaining the support and backing from the likes of designer Paul Smith, Vodafone and FCUK. The band remains my primary commitment but during this transitional phase I decided to pursue further studying at Huddersfield and combined both of my passions into my current research.

The blues developed during the early 20th century in an environment characterised by extreme social inequality. This has led many to believe that blues music was contrived from an eternal struggle against white supremacy and therefore the genre and the song writing reflects such. Performer and historian Dick Weissman continues to question, long after social conditions have changed for black people, why would the blues still remain a relevant social and musical form, and to whom and on what basis does this relevance persist? My research intends to answer this question by looking at the emergence of blues music and its limitations as a genre. I will be using early blues recordings and primary documents such as the Journal of American Folklore, collected by Howard Odum through 1905-1908. Alongside this research I will be conducting extensive interviews with blues musicians and writers to try to capture what it means to write and play the blues.

When a songwriter takes to the stage their legitimacy, their vulnerability, and their competence as a musician is projected to the audience. For a blues musician, these questions are only amplified. On the surface the blues may facilitate an amazing number of intricate guitar styles, but this particular genre of music transcends the typical format of popular music. Although many genres such as rock and pop have evolved into new forms of musical communication, blues has stayed rooted to its original format. How can the standard twelve-bar blues sound so different depending on the player. The answer: It is less of how it sounds, and more of how it feels.

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