To me, writing very personal songs in the blues, at first anyway, seemed like a strange thing to do.
Usually, the lyrical subject matter comes across as a more generic formula — subjects like, "What happened to me this morning/today/this year", "Aren't we all having fun drinking and eating Southern-style food?", "That's it, I've had enough of yo' shit; I'm outta here" are the poetical go-to places for content.
But a member of my own family—a blues-loving road nomad of sorts himself—deserved a song of his own: Bill Carroll (Sr). And I thought that more people should know about him, via "Wild Bill".
Lyric writing can sometimes be like drawing blood from a stone. But sometimes the pen just flows. After an amazing trip to the US in June 2014, I realised where the blues really came from. And subsequently, I absorbed via osmosis a little bit of how to write about your home town.
And it’s not just the human rights history that has had the blues as a soundtrack. What I noticed about a lot of US citizens is their ease of conversation. Complete strangers will exchange life stories on a Greyhound between cities, or during the few minutes they’ll spend waiting on a mocha in Starbucks. A kind of call and response, if you will,...