Renowned guitarist Buddy Guy has confessed that he has grave concerns for the future of the blues.
Speaking with the Associated Press, Guy said that the deaths of blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Junior Wells had left the genre with few flag bearers: “It’s scary. I’m still going to play my music because I love what I’m doing, but we need all the support we can to keep the blues alive.”
After five decades in the business, Guy remains at the forefront of the blues genre and continues to do all he can to ensure it is heard for generations to come. Earlier this year, Guy wrote his autobiography, ‘When I Left Home’ with David Ritz. The book detailed an untold history of the blues.
Guy explained what inspired him to write the book: “I just want a true story about some of the great people who didn’t write a book and left me with this history of information.”
Furthermore, Guy is mentoring 13-year-old blues guitarist Quinn Sullivan, who he said plays “as well as Eric Clapton, me and B.B. King. How do you learn that at that age? That’s a natural.”
He added: “If you don’t have role models the young people now will not learn how to play.”
According to Janice Monti, a sociology professor at Dominican University who studies blues music, 76-year-old Guy is all too aware of his importance to the survival of the blues: “He has expressed his fear that it may be all lost after he’s gone,” she said. “I think as he’s gotten older he’s incredibly aware of this mandate he received from Muddy and the Wolf to keep this all going.”
Guy said that the blues had never received the recognition it deserved: “Every time I’m interviewed I give credit to those people but they should have got all the awards that I got and they didn’t get them because the blues wasn’t exposed and they were some unknowns.”
Guy concluded: “It’s a tough time for blues because if it was being played, other than satellite radio, on the peak
hours, prime time, then somebody would know about it.”