You might know blues when you hear it. But would you know what genre of blues you’re hearing? Blues comes in many different flavors, roughly 25 of them, each with their own nuances and style. Here are a few of the most popular genres of blues music and how you can recognize them from the first note!
This piano-based style was a natural evolution from the early 1900s style of stride piano. Our great grandparents no doubt got down to the boogie-woogie blues during the World War I years and onward with artists like Big Joe Turner and Pinetop Perkins.
Credited as one of the earliest genres of blues, this Mississippi original features plenty of guitar and harmonica. James Cotton and Sonny Boy Williamson are some of the biggest legends to come out of the delta.
Chicago blues features a lot of high-energy guitar. It’s often said to be like delta blues but more amplified. Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, and Magic Sam are all prime examples of this style.
In the 1940s, jump blues became the new thing. With it’s up-tempo swing style and sax paired to rowdy vocals, it was an instant hit. Cab Calloway and Sam Taylor are definite mainstays of this category.
Often called R&B for rhythm and blues, the late 1960s and early 1970s were where this style began. It’s a cool combo of soul music and modern urban music. Among the most legendary of the soul blues artists is Ray Charles.
Deep in the heart of Texas, the blues come full force with a hard swing and repetitive riffs. Slide guitar and different blues and jazz melodies thrust in by none other than Stevie Ray Vaughn to give Texas a whole twang of its own. The Fabulous Thunderbirds and T-Bone Walker are other Texas blues notables.
New Orleans Blues
It’s a little bit smokey, a little bit Cajun, a little bit Creole and full of flavor. New Orleans blues has a little something for everyone with a Latin rhumba melded with a zydeco style beat. It swings, it marches, and it really gets you going. Think Little Richard, James Booker, Guitar Slim, and Fats Domino.
No matter what style of blues you love best, or even if you have never really experienced it at all, you can get the full flavor of blues at the Poor House Bistro, a Cajun restaurant in San Jose. Here is where you’ll get to sample some of the best Cajun food this side of New Orleans while jamming out (without a cover charge!) to some of the best blues greats today.
Spice things up with your food and your music. Grab a table and a plate of food you’ll love while soaking up the mood of that blues!