In 2015 I was in Clarksdale, Mississippi with my wife (and Black Cat Bone’s original drummer) Jewly. I showed her the infamous crossroads (Highway 61 & Highway 49) where many people believe Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical prowess.
I also took her to see Ground Zero (the club owned by Morgan Freeman), but since it was closed we took a tour of the Delta Blues Museum. That is where we met Josh “Razorblade” Stewart.
He was really friendly and talkative. I could tell that he saw himself as an ambassador of the blues, making sure to let every soul he encountered his story. He was a Vietnam Vet, a former cop (I think he said he was the 1st black cop in Clarksdale), a truck driver, and of course a bluesman that has experienced a lifetime of struggle and sorrow during the relentless pursuit of happiness.
The video of Razorblade I posted above is one I found while deep in the Youtube rabbithole looking for stuff about the crossroads and Robert Johnson meeting the devil. I have seen another video or two of pretty much this exact conversation, and is pretty much the same conversation we had with him back in 2015.
In his ad-hoc role as Clarksdale’s Ambassador to the Blues, whenever he meets a new person he always gives a rundown on his theory that a man reaches a “crossroads” at 3 specific stages in his life. This is illustrated by a drawing of a Dollar Sign Snake to show the 3 crossroads.
The first crossroad a man comes to is in his 20’s as he becomes his own man, and has to decide what kind of man he will become. 2nd in his 40’s as he develops a stronger understanding of his own life, and his role in this world. Finally the 3rd crossroads in his 60’s as a man turns towards more important matters in his remaining years.
Unfortunately Razorblade has since passed away, but his lesson about the 3 Crossroads in a Man’s Life has stuck with us. RIP Razorblade!
Way back in 2002 I was freshly divorced, sitting at my kitchen table with a piece of shit guitar that could barely stay in tune. I figured out that i could drop tune it to open G and make some sweet sounds that made me reconsider throwing that guitar in the trash. So I bought a broken Tascam 4 track tape recorder and repaired it. I bought a microphone and a brass slide bottle. I bought some cheap beer. I put it all together and recorded a low-fi demo of the results. It was primitive, and crude. It was perfect!
16 years later, I find myself at another proverbial crossroads. So I go back to the beginning and break out the digital recorder, a microphone, and some beer. 3 Sessions in and I have 7 tracks that I feel have some promise to them. Simple and primitive and pure. Another session or two and I will mix it all down quickly and upload to Spotify, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. The goal is to be ready for the airwaves in the summer of 2019.
The first date is 4/27/2019 at WHITE’s BAR in Saginaw. White’s is where anybody and everybody worth a damn plays in that neck of the woods. The second date is 5/04/2019 at MULLIGAN’s PUB in Grand Rapids. Mullie’s is THE premiere dive bar to catch a wide variety of heavy rock, punk, indie, and roots music in Grand Rapids, MI.
The Fabulous Timmy Van has gone and done it again! He put together a show with some of his favorite local bands and asked us to help out. Timmy Van is like the Frank Sinatra of Grand Rapids… when he tells you to do something for the scene, you fuckin’ do it!
We are on most of those sites under the moniker “Black Cat Bone 616”, using the Grand Rapids area code to separate us from the other artists out there using the name Black Cat Bone. There’s at least one in every country…. The oldest seems to be from the 70’s in Canada, the current big deal is out of the UK… but the best Black Cat Bone is from the heart of the Rust Belt…. dirty ol’ Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA!