“I Am the Blues,” directed by Daniel Cross available on VOD July 12, takes the viewer into the deep backroads of the South, visiting the authentic juke joints and listening to the stories of the people who play, live and know the real roots of the blues.
The blues is a musical style—absolutely—but it’s a lifestyle above and beyond, and many of those who were eyewitnesses to the height of the blues are now at an advanced age.
Here is what “I Am the Blues” filmmaker Daniel Cross had to say about where to find the blues and why the blues are still hard to define.
AmNews: Where are the best “blues clubs” in L.A. and NYC?
Cross: I don’t have a good answer for this. I wish that I did. I hope to find out.
AmNews: People often say that it’s very hard to define the blues, or rather we all have our own version of the blues. What’s your definition?
Cross: Blues is music that reflects on a person’s life: the joy, the misery, the camaraderie. It is meant to be shared and sung to another person so the story can be shared and evolved.
AmNews: Will the blues and places like those featured in the film find new life? If so, how and where? If not, why not?
Cross: The places in the film were old juke joints and do not operate on a true economic model. They are more labors of love, places of history that are passed down and the operators/managers do it out of a sense of community and for the music. Today, in my time spent there I did not sense a consistent flow of young people who were showing true interest or doing the work to keep these places alive. Perhaps if there is an economic model attached that makes keeping the juke joints more profitable, then there will be people more interested in keeping them open. The way it looks to me the old juke joints will
find it hard to get a new life.
However, there are still many blues bars that operate like clubs and do just fine.
“I Am the Blues” is available on VOD July 12 and opens at New York City’s Quad
Cinema July 12.