IF YOU GO
* What: Paul Geremia acoustic blues guitar.
* When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.
* Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.
* Admission: $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
* Phone: 423-624-5347.
* Website: www.barkinglegs.org.
1968: “Just Enough”
1982: “I Really Don’t Mind Livin’”
1986: “My Kinda Place”
1993: “Gamblin’ Woman Blues”
1995: “Self Portrait in Blues”
1997: “Live from Uncle Sam’s Backyard”
1999: “Devil’s Music”
2000: “Hard Life Rockin’ Chair”
2004: “Love, Murder & Mosquitos”
2011: “Love My Stuff”
Howlin’ Wolf. Robert Johnson. Ramblin’ Thomas.
To many people, these are just bolded names on the timeline of blues music, but guitarist Paul Geremia has spent more than 45 years studying them and absorbing their music. To him, they’re more like mentors.
As a result, he’s earned an unofficial title as a blues scholar with a deep historical repertoire that makes him, according to music historian Elijah Wald, “something of a national treasure.”
Geremia says he doesn’t necessarily feel beholden to his role as a torchbearer for old-time blues, but it’s certainly a nice bonus if he can entertain and educate through anecdotes about the music and musicians he loves so dearly.
“I think the music, on its own, is going to survive without my help, but I’m really glad when people feel that way,” he says. “It’s a big compliment to me. It tells me that I guess I’m on the right track.”
Saturday, Dec. 21, Geremia will return to the stage at Barking Legs Theater, where he will present a set of blues standards and original material peppered with a healthy dose of storytelling to liven things up.
In the 45 years since his recording debut, “Just Enough,” Geremia has released 10 albums. The last one, “Love My Stuff,” is a collection of various live recordings he assembled over the years. Next year, he says, his label, Red House Records, will release a second live recording taken, in whole, from a show at The Down Home in Johnson City, Tenn.
With most of the elder statesmen of the blues now passed, Geremia says he feels more driven than ever to create new music that speaks to their legacy and to add a personal musical flourish to enliven the standards.
“It’s caused me to work a little harder at pursuing my own material and trying to come through with something, with some songs, that turn me on as much as the old stuff did,” he says. “That doesn’t happen very often, but it happens often enough that I keep doing it.”
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...