On Saturday, June 18th, traditional blues master and songwriter Scott Ainslie will be on the Bass Hall stage at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture to present an evening of great singing, slide, Delta Blues and ragtime guitar playing, and select original songs.
Ainslie comes to the stage armed with history, stories, personal anecdotes about his life with traditional musicians on both sides of the color line in the South.
He transcribed and published “Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads,” a folio of the music of this Delta Blues legend and is a sought after performer and teacher who combines his deep understanding and knowledge of the history and African roots of blues with top-notch skills as a musician and performer.
Of one of Ainslie’s live performances, Pamela Constable of The Washington Post wrote:
“Scott is the kind of musician they don’t make any more, in the mold of the late Pete Seeger – unpretentious, dead serious about his craft, dedicated to preserving traditional American music and instruments, unabashedly faithful to left-liberal values, and so versatile he can make you weep one moment over the story of a dying steel town . . . and snicker appreciatively the nest at a driving Mississippi blues song full of earthy innuendo.”
– The Washington Post, February 2015
With roots and experience as a songwriter, a traditional southern Old-Time musician, and time spent with senior traditional musicians on both sides of the color line, Ainslie brings a wealth of understanding and experience to his teaching, his performances and recordings.
“I have been very fortunate to have spent more than my share of time with elder musicians in the mountain music traditions of the Southern Appalachians, as well as with older blues and gospel musicians,” Ainslie notes. “As a student of music, my strategy has always been to find the oldest people around who still have their sense and can play and informally apprentice myself to them. Sound recordings have played a role, but it is the time I have been blessed to spend in the company of senior musicians in these traditions that makes me who I am. If I have value, it came to me through them. I am a link in their chain.”
Ainslie’s latest recording, “The Last Shot Got Him,” is a collection of tunes chosen to suit one particular guitar: a 1934 arch top Gibson L-50 (a small-bodied, arch top guitar with a large round sound hole) that came to him from a friend in Lafayette, Louisiana.
“Guitars have their own particular voices,” Ainslie muses, “they like different things.”
“This particular guitar has a great affinity for the music of its youth, the songs it would have been asked to play when it was just a young thing. So, I let it choose the songs for “The Last Shot Got Him.”
The recording features only one new song, an Ainslie original written in the harmonic style of the 20s and 30s. All the other tracks date from 1928 through 1941. The breadth and depth of the music of that era are showcased admirably in the recording.
In a recently published review, Brian M. Owens of Blues Music Magazine wrote:
“Scott Ainslie is a country bluesman of the highest order. Armed with only his superb voice and a 1930s era Gibson L-50 arch-top acoustic, Ainslie deftly weaves his way through these fourteen tracks that include one original (“Late Last Night”) along with outstanding renditions of songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Irving Berlin, Oliver Wallace & Ned Washington, Reverend Gary Davis, Fats Waller, and Yip Harburg & Harold Arlen.”
This concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18; $15 for seniors, students and members. Reservations are recommended. Secure your seats by calling 603-924-3235, or purchase them on line at MonadnockCenter.org