AMERICA’S HISTORY BY THE BLUES: New Orleans Musician Spencer Bohren tracks his and the country’s past with songs

America’s history is written in Folk songs,” says Wyoming born Spencer Bohren. Like the story of “Delia.” Living around a hundred years ago, she was a gambler, the song’s lyrics reveal. “A woman you wound not want to have your son hang around with,” Bohren says.

He himself discovered the Blues via the Gospel. “I was raised in a Gospel singing family. Heartfelt, deep music,” the singer and guitarist says. “My mother did not see us as a boy or a girl. She saw us as a Tenor or a Soprano.”

Back then in Wyoming, in the middle of nowhere, Spencer Bohren had plans – aged 13. “I wanted to go to New York, but I couldn’t.

A jump forward. Now, 54 years later, he is sitting in the dressing room of a once sacred place. A former chapelle in Cologne where he is presenting his latest live concert tour called “Down the Dirt Road Blues.”

A show of various songs from the history of the United States, as well as a bunch of self-written tunes in the tradition of the Blues and Gospel. “I’ve made around twenty albums to this date,” Spencer Bohren, now living in New Orleans, says.

On stage it is just him. Singing and playing the guitar – various models. Such as a lapsteel guitar, made in the year he was born. “It is 67 years old,” Bohren explains. And a perfect fit for “People Get Ready” which he performs that night.

Later Bohren presents his version of “Ring Them Bells” by Bob Dylan. Changing fragments, licks and even the whole set from time to time. “I don’t want them to be static,” Spencer Bohren says about the songs that define America.

Songs that he also brings to schools. There he regularly presents American history via the country’s songs.

Advertisements