Jason Freeman shares a secret about the Bluff City Backsliders 20th anniversary show and record release party.
"Technically last year was our 20th anniversary," the singer and guitar picker admits. "That's why we recorded the record at Sun last year. So, even though this is actually our 21st year, we're calling it our 20th because of the record."
However you choose to count the time, the Backsliders have been making vintage music fresh for a long time now. The group's first release was a collection of blues standards originally written or popularized by artists like Cab Calloway, Chester Burnett, W.C. Handy, Charlie Patton, and Blind Willie McTell. The sound was part jug band, part woozy New Orleans gut bucket, and all modern Memphis.
- Bluff City Backsliders
"This new one's kind of like the first record with traditional arrangements of old stuff. But this one's different because we also do have originals," Freeman says. "Normally what we're all about is taking those old songs and reinventing them. But this time I wrote a track, and [original Backslider] Michael Graber also wrote a track."
What's the secret to the Backsliders' longevity? Graber says it's the, "sheer love of the music. And looking at the music and making music as the taproot of joy. It's just like making medicine — a healthy, creative act.
"Or ignorance," Freeman says. Cue the kazoo!