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Friday, September 4, 2009

A Different Kind of Blues Artist - Diane Russell

As I skimmed the Blues newsfeed this morning, I came across a hidden gem, "a show" in the Portland area. Normally I would just keep pressing the down arrow, but I noticed it named one of my favorite bluesmen, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, who once did A Song for Renee. Indulge me, good songs about "Renee" are rare.

When I edit, I often see a story within a story, an alternate focus, or a completely different perspective besides the one presented. It allows me to indulge in tangents of choice, explore and find obscure connections, or other words, justify my writing.

The show featured another artist, one I was not familiar with, Diane Russell. Russell isn't quite on par with Etta, Koko, Shemekia, or Bonnie and you won't see her performing at Buddy Guy's Legends, Rosa's Lounge or any other blues club for that matter. However, Ms. Russell is in a class by herself and can be found at gallery shows.

The Blues Foundation used her Pinetop Perkins creation for their 2005 W.C.Handy award poster. The Blues Foundation features it as a poster for sale on their website.

(Click Image)

Reggie Houston's, Katrina Blues, portrait is as emotionally moving as the best played 12 bar blues song. His website talks about what her picture means to him.

While I took one last browse at Russell's website, all I could envision was a Women in Blues series, particularly Koko Taylor. I guess it goes back to that editing style quirk of mine and tangents.

What does an art show in Portland, the W.C. Handy awards, the Legendary Blues Cruise, and Clarence Gatemouth Brown have in common? A different kind of blues artist, Diane Russell. I hope you enjoy discovering this blues artist, as much as I did.

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