Who wants to be hypnotized? What if you heard there’s a new blues tune so brilliant it will put you into a trance?
You’ve heard about trance music and blues music. But have you ever heard a mix of the two genres? It’s a growing subgenre of the blues and trance music, and has a unique style all its own.
Trance blues is a relatively new phenomenon that’s making waves because of a few big names that have been experimenting with musical styles for quite a while.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what makes it unique and some big names to watch out for in the emerging subgenre.
What is Trance Blues?
In learning the basics of blues, we know there are blues shuffles that have what you might call a trance-like rhythm, followed by a call and response. The rhythmic repetition is called a “groove” and may remind listeners of a trance-like effect.
But the actual blues trance genre refers to the combination of electronic music with traditional blues, including drum machines, loops, samples, and so on. Some trance blues music records even have altered classical blues songs remade with modern musical touches.
For example, take drumming. Traditional blues was once associated with Dixieland drum kits. Trance blues uses far more drumming and in some cases more rhythmic and experimental drum loops.
Influential Trance Blues Songs
Some of the most influential trance blues songs came out in the early 2000s, such as “Tangle Eye” by a band of the same name. Tangle Eye is a modern reimagining of a 1948 song “Rosie” by C. B. Cook and a “prison work gang” from Mississippi.
Otis Taylor was also credited as a trace blues pioneer, combining distinctive blues tunes with Appalachian country music and even psychedelic rock. Taylor started exploring trance blues in 2001 and later did entire albums like White African. As this piece from NPR reports.
Otis Taylor once explained, trance-blues makes use of electronic repetition, in a way that “kind of hypnotizes people. “They lose a sense of time when I’m playing live sometimes.”
While most blues music has three-chord blues progression, trance blues loves repetitive chords used skillfully.
Trance Blues Hits Today
What really makes trance blues different from the trance genre (which we wrote about here in 2020) is a distinctive love of blues music, not to mention an admiration for blues culture, and the “Delta Blues” birthplace.
Otis Taylor may be one of the most commonly associated artists with trance blues, but the genre is taking off and going in many different directions. There is even a Trance Blues Festival touring in 2022.
While Otis Taylor is definitely the star attraction, you can also look for other visiting artists like Alvin Youngblood Hart, Cassie Taylor, Brian Juan, Beth Rosbach and Guy Davis.
The popularity of trance blues is a niche for now but it’s growing consistently, thanks to all the great songs coming out of the Mississippi Delta and beyond.
Mississippi Delta Blues
Speaking of the Mississippi Delta, it’s hard to deny that it’s the birthplace of the Blues, at least when it comes to American Blues. The evolution of Blues, from 19th century “work chants and field hollers” to a remarkable mix of multiple musical genres and instruments, is all a fascinating read.
You can read about the history of Mississippi Delta Blues music on VisitMississippi.com.
Trance blues is a growing tide, especially as many new artists reflect upon the social issues that made blues music so powerful a century ago. Today, artists continue to talk about social injustice through lyrics and music – one of the most powerful ways to make an impact.
Give trance blues a listen and hear something amazingly familiar that’s also completely new.