Who's Got the Blues Anymore?

What makes music authentic? When the conditions that birthed the American blues disappear, what happens to the blues? Sarah Gibson, in one of Scalawag's favorite pieces on Southern culture, meets one of the greatest artists of the Piedmont Blues, Algia Mae Hinton, and finds, "The closer you get to the artist, the less you can project onto that character an imagined narrative of strength or authenticity." Instead we find what's really dangerous and powerful about an artist's ideas—and are forced to embrace that danger or relegate it to the past.

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Editor's note: We're thrilled to have Scalawag as a media partner of the IdeaFestival. If you see Scalawag co-founder Evan Walker-Wells in Louisville during the festival, say hi!