On his new album, The Cause Of It All, The Reverend Shawn Amos “brought the ancestors into the room” to revisit ten classics from blues legends Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter. In this companion podcast series, The Rev speaks with the offspring of famed musical figures: Alex Dixon (grandson of Willie Dixon), Zakiya Hooker (daughter of John Lee Hooker), Vaneese Thomas (daughter of Rufus Thomas), and John Paul Hammond (son of John Hammond). All are accomplished musicians in their own right. All share stories about growing up with famous parents and forging their own paths. They also discuss the role of the blues in helping define Black culture.
From Greg Johnson, Blues Curator and Professor, Ole Miss:
We are so pleased that The Reverend Shawn Amos has chosen to place his podcast here in the Blues Archive. One of our missions is to preserve the blues so that it will be accessible to future generations of blues fans and researchers. In a way, that’s just what Amos has done through helping preserve the stories of important blues figures through interviews with their children and grandchildren. Decades into a future we can’t even begin to imagine, people will still be able to hear these very human stories, centered around one of America’s deepest and most original musics: the blues.
Here in Oxford, nestled at the southern part of the North Mississippi Hill Country, we’re keenly aware of these familial blues lines. Weekends are routinely filled with performances by the descendants of Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, and Othar Turner. In every case, musicians like Shardé Thomas or Cedric Burnside honor their forebears. These generational connections are so important. One of the books that was published the year I began working at the Blues Archive (2002) is Art Tipaldi’s Children of the Blues: 49 Musicians Shaping a New Blues Tradition. The Reverend Shawn Amos’s podcast ties right into this honoring of those who came before.
“I’m so grateful to the University of Mississippi for giving these podcasts a home,” says Amos. “So much of my life has been dedicated to not only preserving this music but also ensuring its continued survival. These conversations gave me insight, healing and renewed motivation. I hope they do the same for others who listen to The Cause Of It All.”
*Feature image: Adam Kennedy