Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Clarence Gatemouth Brown, RIP

Another sad loss to the world of music this weekend with the passing of Clarence Gatemouth Brown. I was lucky enough to see Gatemouth twice. He was a badass dude. Cranky as all hell, he saw modern blues for what it was, the soundtrack to middle-aged white men's lives, and he resisted being called a bluesman to the point of actively getting angry at people who said it to him. He was a great guitar player but also an equally good fiddler. He could also whip out a mandolin, harmonica, or play the drums at any time. He mixed blues, country, jazz, cajun, and bluegrass into a style all his own and is one of the people I would most closely associate with creating a modern American music. Brown took all of these styles that he heard and blended them with his own personality to create great music.

Finally, a story. At a show a couple of years ago, a cell phone went off in the middle of a song. The crowd got very upset that someone would leave their phone on during a show. Turns out though, that the phone belonged to Gatemouth himself. He stopped the song, answered the phone, and proceeded to schedule another gig while in the middle of the one he was playing.