Interview with Mississippi native musician Kern Pratt - brings the Blues alive with deep-rooted Delta sound

"I think that Blues music bridges a racial barrier that no other genre can do, and as far as the rest of your question, I just don’t see the implications at all. i.e We’re bridging the Blues, not black, not white, just the Blues. I’m going to leave it at that."

Kern Pratt: Mississippi Tales

Kern Pratt, Mississippi Delta native brings the Blues alive every time he starts to play. He surrounds himself with some of the most talented musicians that Mississippi has to offer & provides you with a performance like no other! He has performed with artists such as the late & great Willie Foster, Mamie “Galore” Davis, Lil’ Bill Wallace, Mississippi Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Lil’ Dave Thompson, James “T-Model” Ford, Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, Percy Sledge, Eden Brent, Steve Azar, and Bud Cockrell, lead vocalist for Pablo Cruise. These musicians were a great influence on his musical career. He opened shows for artists of the likes of BB King, Bo Diddley, Johnny Winter, Delbert McClinton, Bobby Rush, Gregg Alman, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Deborah Coleman, Elvin Bishop, Rick Nelson, Kenny Neal, Dr. John, Muddy Waters All Star Band, Eddie Money & the late Bobby “Blue” Bland.

He & his band Kern Pratt & The Accused have played many festivals including The Mississippi Picnic which takes place in Central Park in New York City, the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival, Annual BB King Homecoming & the Sam Chatman Festival just to name a few. He has recorded two CD’s “Hitchhike” on “Sam’s House” label & “Somewhere South of Memphis” with “Flying Dog” records in Houston, Texas. Mississippi Delta native's first solo album "Broken Chains" (2015) with David Hyde producing the project and playing bass. Pratt while never overlooking the cultural legacy passed on by his blues hero’s, has developed a unique style of his own. Because of his high level of music integrity he has gained a reputation as one of the most authentic & hardworking musicians in the South.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

I try to keep myself humbled and remember what I’ve learned from all the blues players that I was fortunate enough to grow up around and eventually play with. The blues is the way I live my life. One day at a time, and having fun doing it.

How do you describe Kern Pratt sound and songbook? What characterized your music philosophy?

It’s got a deep-rooted Delta sound because of my influences and it’s mixed with a rock-edge. I like to have fun and play the blues, and I think that has a positive influence on everything that I do.

"I try to keep myself humbled and remember what I’ve learned from all the blues players that I was fortunate enough to grow up around and eventually play with. The blues is the way I live my life. One day at a time, and having fun doing it."

What were the reasons that you started the Blues researches and experiments?

I lost my mother when I was seven years old, and my father had a western auto store in downtown Greenville, MS, which is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. There was a music store close by and I saw the guitars in the window and I had to have one; the rest is history.

What is the impact of Blues music and culture to the racial and socio-cultural implications?

I think that Blues music bridges a racial barrier that no other genre can do, and as far as the rest of your question, I just don’t see the implications at all. i.e We’re bridging the Blues, not black, not white, just the Blues. I’m going to leave it at that.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? 

Playing with Willie Foster was very educational, and the other Delta players around Greenville were instrumental in guiding my career.

What is the best advice has given you?

The best advice would be to avoid trouble and have fun, and play my music the way that I feel it.

"I don’t think that you can change the musical world. It changes itself, and that is reality. What I would like to see is people all over the world listening to the music and taking an example from musicians, and let’s all get along."

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Yes, opening for Gregg Allman was a great experience back in the late 80s. I got to hang out with him all day and listen to some really cool stories. Also, meeting Muddy Waters with Johnny Winter, who is also from the Delta (Leeland, MS). He was also a very big influence on my music career.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I really don’t miss anything from the past. I try to embrace and learn from the past blues. In my opinion, the blues is a ever evolving art-form. I have no fears because I see it going forward in a very positive way. Younger musicians, such as Clarksdale, MS own “Christone” “Kingfish” Ingram is a fine example of this.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I don’t think that you can change the musical world. It changes itself, and that is reality. What I would like to see is people all over the world listening to the music and taking an example from musicians, and let’s all get along.

"I really don’t miss anything from the past. I try to embrace and learn from the past blues. In my opinion, the blues is a ever evolving art-form." (Photo: Kern Pratt rockin' at the IBC, Vicksburg MS. with Eddie Cotton Jr., Bernard Jenkins, and Buck Penton)

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from Muddy and Wolf’s generation to our era?

First of all, you have to start with the Mississippi Delta itself, where the blues was born. You have Charlie Patton, Bukka White, who was B.B King’s first cousin, and we definitely do not look over Robert Johnson; they were all influences of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf. This created modern day blues and rock & roll. For example, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, to Stevie Ray Vaughn and on and on and on...

What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the music circuits?

It made me laugh watching my friends becoming successful. Not taking things too seriously. On the other hand, emotionally, losing very very many of the older blues musicians that influenced me.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

I would like to go back to 1973 and spend that time with my mother. That would be really cool. Because this is the whole reason at seven years old that I started playing music, and this eventually led me to the Blues as I know it.

Kern Pratt - Official website

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