Music Matters

Playing the blues: Portraits of the great blues musicians of Texas


Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Grady Gaines 2
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Grady Gaines 3
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Grady Gaines 1
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Omar Dykes 1
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Omar Dykes 2
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Omar Dykes 3
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Tutu Jones 1
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Tutu Jones 2
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Tutu Jones 3
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Van Wilks 1
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Van Wilks 2
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Tommy Shannon 1
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Tommy Shannon 2
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Denny Freeman 1
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Denny Freeman 2
Photo by A.L. Carter
Austin Photo: News_photo essay_ashley carter_texas blues musicians_July 2012_Denny Freeman 3
Photo by A.L. Carter

These are the musicians who continue to give a voice to the blues, a seemingly fading genre of music, in Texas. My aim was to capture each musician's pride in his music, using backdrops that have a personal connection to the musician, whether it be a club or in a music studio.

Pictured: saxophonist Grady Gaines.

Grady Gaines, shot at The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club in Houston, where he performs occasionally.

Grady Gaines, shot at Goode's Armadillo Palace in Houston. Grady was band leader for Little Richard and Sam Cooke, recording classics like "Long Tall Sally" and a "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On." Since then he's played with the greatest R&B artists.

Omar Kent Dykes of Omar & The Howlers, shot at The Highball in Austin. Omar brought his gravel voice and guitar feedback to Austin in the '80s.

He's recorded more than 20 albums.

Omar Kent Dykes of Omar & The Howlers, shot at The Highball.

Omar Kent Dykes of Omar & The Howlers, shot at Antone's Record Shop in Austin. Omar is a frequent customer of this shop.

The photo is the cover of his new album, I'm Gone.

Tutu Jones, shot in downtown Dallas. Tutu grew up in a house frequented by bluesmen like Freddie King, Little Joe Blue and Ernie Johnson.

He began playing drums and later started his own band playing R&B guitar.

Tutu Jones, shot in front of 508 Park Ave. in Dallas, where in 1937, Robert Johnson, of whom Tutu is a big fan, recorded half of the 29 songs that comprise his entire discography.

Tutu Jones, shot in downtown Dallas.

Van Wilks, shot at Laguna Gloria in Austin. Van is one of Austin's master blues guitar players.

Van Wilks, shot at Guitar Land Music Studios, where he teaches guitar.

Tommy Shannon, shot at Antone's in Austin. A Texas bassist, Tommy has a deep affinity for the blues club.

Tommy Shannon, shot at Antone's in Austin. Tommy played at Woodstock with Johnny Winter and at Carnegie Hall with Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Denny Freeman, shot in downtown Dallas. Denny was born and raised in Dallas and now can be found mostly at the Continental Club, Antone's, The Gallery and in DFW area clubs.

Denny Freeman, shot in downtown Dallas. Denny played in the Bob Dylan Band from 2005 until August 2009 and plays on the Bob Dylan album, Modern Times.

Denny Freeman, shot in downtown Dallas. He's also written and played with Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kathy Valentine (The Go-Gos), Clem Burk (Blondie) and Taj Mahal. He also played guitar for the Antone's House Band, backing up the greatest blues musicians on the planet.

---

Photos by A.L. Carter: www.alcarterphoto.com

Comments