"Happily, there is good and great music in every era. However, today's popular music often seems less heartfelt than the music I grew up listening to. I pray that the current younger generation will nurture the best of human culture, contribute to it and take us closer to a world of peace and harmony."
Eric Bibb: A Ride for Liberty & Music
The follow-up to his multiple award-winning, critically-acclaimed 2021 album, “Dear America”, Eric Bibb’s new album Ridin’ (Release Day: March 24, 2023 by Stony Plain) is a continuation of the vision that informs Bibb’s artistry as a modern-day Blues troubadour. Grounded in the folk and blues tradition with contemporary sensibilities, Bibb’s music continues to reflect his thoughts on current world events and his own lived experiences, whilst remaining entertaining, uplifting, inspirational and relevant. The ethos for Ridin’ was hugely inspired by the oil painting by Eastman Johnson, “A Ride for Liberty (1862),” that depicts an African American family fleeing enslavement in the southern USA during the American Civil War. In Eric’s own words: “Johnson’s painting embodies all the hope, determination and courage that is at the core of the African American experience and needed now throughout the world.”
(Eric Bibb / Photo © by Jan Malmstrom)
Ridin' was produced by Glen Scott and features Habib Koité, Taj Mahal, Steve Jordan, Tommy Sims, Harrison Kennedy, Russell Malone and Jontavious Willis, as well as a host of brilliant session musicians and singers from around the globe. A two-time Grammy Award nominee with multiple Blues Foundation awards, Eric Bibb is known and revered globally for having carved his own musical destiny with honesty and power. Eric’s father, the late Leon Bibb, was an activist, actor, and folk singer who marched at Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King. Eric’s youth was spent immersed in the Greenwich Village folk scene. Names like Dylan, Baez, and Seeger were visitors to his home. He was deeply influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, and Taj Mahal – who guests on Ridin’ - and he has synthesized all of that into his very own style.
Interview by Michael Limnios Special Thanks: Eric Bibb & Mark Pucci Media
How has the Blues and Folk music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
Good question. Blues in particular and American folk music in general, all of which can be called Americana, was introduced to me by my parents along with their colleagues and friends. Folks who leaned left and supported movements for social justice and peace accordingly, their world view became mine through osmosis.
Where does your creative drive come from? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The creative drive is something within us all to one degree or another. Growing up, my passion for music was encouraged, so my drive for creating music was nurtured in a big way. Being surrounded by creative people, as I was, was so inspiring. To be able to inspire others with my songs is a blessing. As an artist, leaving an audience uplifted, energized and hopeful is as good as it gets.
What characterize your new album Ridin' music philosophy and songbook?
As a songwriter, studying African American history has always been a deep well of inspiration. The true stories of my ancestors and their communities are at the heart of many of the songs on my new album - Ridin’. Together with co-writer/producer Glen Scott, we’ve created a concept album focusing on the ongoing task of understanding systemic racism and purging it from our world. For all its seriousness, Ridin’ is a funky, groovy, hopeful collection of songs that feature stellar guest appearances by Taj Mahal, Jontavious Willis, Russell Malone and Habib Koité. At a time when popular political movements are attempting to delete truth from the historical record, I feel called upon to sing songs that contribute to greater understanding and much-needed unity. The making of Ridin’ has been a labor of love. We hope you’ll enjoy the journey.
"Blues in particular and American folk music in general, all of which can be called Americana, was introduced to me by my parents along with their colleagues and friends. Folks who leaned left and supported movements for social justice and peace accordingly, their world view became mine through osmosis." (Eric Bibb / Photo © by Jan Malmstrom)
What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
Happily, there is good and great music in every era. However, today's popular music often seems less heartfelt than the music I grew up listening to. I pray that the current younger generation will nurture the best of human culture, contribute to it and take us closer to a world of peace and harmony.
Are there any memories from the late Leon Bibb, and the Greenwich Village folk scene which you’d like to share with us?
There are so many! Here's one: I'm with my Dad at some benefit concert in a Greenwich Village club and my Dad looks up and says: "There's Woody! Would you like to meet him?" And so it was, at age fifteen, I shook the hand of Woody Guthrie.
What is the impact of Blues and Folk music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?
Authentic blues music encourages listeners to keep it real and tell it like it is.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
The value of being kind and non-judgemental.
John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?
For me, loving music and making music amplifies my appreciation of the Wonder Of It All. Music is a way of knowing the Divine.
(Eric Bibb / Photo © by Jan Malmstrom)
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