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  • Writer's pictureJAM

Ridin’ the Blinds

Hudspeth & Talor Ridin’ the Top of the Charts

Kansas City is where ‘jazz and blues meet,’ and several blues and jazz musicians from this area of the country have done well over the years.

Take Hudspeth & Taylor, for example, the duo’s second self-produced album, Ridin’ The Blinds, has reached number one on blues radio, following their 2019 release Folie a Deux which did just as well, 4 long years ago.

The duo’s success has to do with detail. They take pre-war Delta Blues songs and rework them. Adding say, a little Hip Hop, or little bit of African Mali spice, making everything that they do, all their own.

“Ridin’ the blinds, is a hobo term,” said Hudspeth. ‘It’s about tryin’ to get somewhere.”

Getting somewhere is what they have been doing ever since they started the band, and they have both been in some bands, and they both continue to do many things separately, but this is different, this is getting somewhere.

“I’m tryin’ to place my voice,” said Taylor, “so it’s homogenous with what Brandon’s doing on guitar, and also be aware of other things that are going on, sonically.”

Every song is polished, like a museum piece, re-conditioned like grampa’s gold watch, so it keeps time and does all it’s supposed to do, and still doesn’t look to be anything really special. This is high art.

“We wanted to bring back some of those old melodies people haven’t heard in years,” said Hudspeth, “maybe decades. The phrasing and harmonic sense of that period might even sound foreign today.”

So, they mimic that phrasing, that guitar sound and then once it becomes second nature, they relax and they become the music.

“Guys like Mance Lipscomb, they hit their instrument and it adds things. To where you think, ‘he’s one guy,’” ponders Taylor, “’How’d he do that?’”

When you don’t have, you make something out of nothing. And, when you do that you have created an original. This music is derivative, but it is not meant to copy. It’s taking something from 100 years ago and bringing it into the present. If a guy doesn’t have a ticket. And He’s got to take a train to the gig:

“The guy doesn’t have a ticket, so he rides between the cars,” said Hudspeth, “They used to call that ‘Ridin’ The Blinds.’”

With special thanks to: Larry Kay

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