May 24, 2024

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Interview with Brandon Hudspeth: It takes musical intellect to convey soul: Video

Interview with lier man, as if guitarist Brandon Hudspeth. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music.  How exactly did your adventure take off? 

Brandon Hudspeth: – I was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma and soon after moved to Claremore, Oklahoma where I lived until I was 18 years old. I got really interested in music and especially guitar when I was 5 after seeing Johnny Cash on Sesame Street. My parents noticed the interest, bought me a small classical guitar, and signed me up for guitar lessons. Soon after I started playing guitar, BB King came to Tulsa which is just down the street from Claremore. My parents took me and for reasons unknown I ended up on stage with BB King and got to chat with him. He gave me a guitar pic and a pen and told me to keep playing the guitar. I really idolized BB King after seeing him live. My parents would take me to see him every single time he came to town which was a lot. I then knew I was going to play music for a living or die trying.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

BH: – I think my sound has gone through many phases throughout my life. I had times where all I played was acoustic blues. I’m a big fan of the delta players. I used to watch VHS videos repeatedly of concerts of the blues greats. I love Jazz guitar and have spent a considerable amount of time learning from that genre. I really love Django Reinhardt and he’s been and influence in my playing. I think basically I just let my taste in music dictate how I sound at any given time. I like to let that happen organically. That way I end up with something that is my own.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

BH: – The last four years of my practice has really been dedicated to getting better at outlining chords by practicing mainly arpeggios versus scales and practicing everything with a metronome.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

BH: – My mentality for playing music has changed. I remember being a teenager and hearing Albert King for the first time. Albert was so good and effortless that he tricked the young me. Although Albert only played a few notes at a time they sounded so soulful because of the fact that he grooved really deeply and had harmonic sense. So I guess what I’ve evolved to realizing is that soul is created by playing melodies that are in the pocket and harmonically strong whereas when I was a kid I used to just plain go for it all the time, without knowing what I was REALLY going for.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

BH: – I think it takes musical intellect to convey soul. It’s like learning how to talk. You have to first learn letters, then sentences, and then conversations. It’s the same with music. You learn different reflections and different vocabulary which you can manipulate to convey specific emotions. I think one leads to the other.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

BH: – I see it as the live musicians job to deliver that emotion to the audience. That’s why we are on a stage in the spotlight. I see the stage as everyone’s space to some regard, the audience’s and the musician’s.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

BH: – Like a pair of Chuck Taylors, I think it all comes back around. I believe roots music will make a resurgence with the younger generation sooner or later. It takes someone with a different take on the traditional music to attract a young audience. Something that they can identify with. Something familiar but yet new.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

BH: – I agree with Coltrane on that. Just like a painting is an extension of the painter’s spirit. I think the meaning of life is simply to be happy and kind. I believe it’s not what you accomplish in life that matters, it’s how you make people feel.

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

BH: – I’d change the mainstream music platform so that roots music would have a larger outlet. I think that if more people, especially young folks, were exposed to blues music it would definitely have a larger audience

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

BH: – I’ve been listening to Roy Nichols a lot. He had a really distinct style. Roy Buchanan is another artist I’ve been reacquainting myself with. Also I’ve been listening to Grant Green quite a bit.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

BH: – I’d probably have to say from a musical standpoint I would have loved to see and witness other people seeing Django Reinhardt. I think that would have been a pretty amazing time for music, Swing in particular. Another time I’d like to visit would be Mississippi and Arkansas in the 1930s and all the musicians from the Delta starting to record. I’ve always been very intrigued by Robert Johnson in particular but all those guys had a style that was very unique.

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself …

BH: – What sparked your interest to start a website and to do all these cool interviews?

JBN: – It is difficult for a stupid person to understand, because if you could understand, then you would cooperate with our website and festivals, or at least you would be able to give intelligent answers to our questions.

US/EU Jazz & Blues association – We, who have our specific interests in the field of Jazz and Blues, it is natural that not all musicians can be equal for us, we have to pave the way for our musicians who cooperate with us, we buy more stages and festivals, organize and represent them, soon we will also have a very technically equipped and powerful recording studio.

Interview by Simon Sarg

Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/useujba/

Brandon Hudspeth

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