When you think of the blues, you think about misfortune, betrayal, and regret. You lose your job? You get the blues. You didn’t win that contest? You get the blues. Your partner cheats on you? You definitely get the blues. You can’t log onto the grid? You get the blues. It’s cold outside… go to a blues club and warm up!There are many theories about where the “cradle of the blues” resides, but most theories lead back to the African continent and then to the Mississippi Delta. A precursor of modern blues originates from work songs sung by black laborers on plantations and the influence of religious songs on the genre from the nineteenth century. Today, there are many sub-genres of the blues, ranging from Country to Delta, acoustic to electric, Piedmont, boogie-woogie, Jump and Chicago, to name a few.
The best blues are visceral and cathartic, that make you feel something. There are several clubs in Second Life® that embrace the blues and their juke joint vibe. Historically a juke joint or “jook” is the vernacular term for a place that is informal and offers music, dancing, gambling and drinking, and is primarily open to African Americans in the Deep South.
There are several favorite blues clubs among SL residents such as Fogbound, where there is always a friendly crowd and live DJ’s that know their stuff. Junkyard is another SL blues club that offers residents excellent DJ’s and a friendly welcoming crowd. To get into Junkyard you have to be a group member, which is helpful in terms of keeping griefers out. Voodoo Bayou located in a “shack” has an authentic Mississippi juke joint feel with a rustic atmosphere, amazing live DJ’s and a hopping crowd.
Another favorite SL blues club is Hotlanta owned by DonPaul Cale. This club exemplifies all aspects of the blues: it is gritty and soulful and has a Chicago vibe urban atmosphere. Owner, DonPaul, is a genuine RL blues aficionado. He found out about Second Life from a songwriters chat group and decided to explore the possibilities of live music on the grid. After exploring the grid, he decided to build a blues club to reflect an old city that is still vibrant no matter what it’s past history was and to express and share his love of the blues.
Hotlanta Blues offers a palette of blues that is always a treat because DonPaul knows the blues and appreciates blues musicians both old and new. He has a soft spot for Albert King because of the feeling that this musician he puts into his guitar work. Live DJ’s here usually start between 3 and 4 SL time; at other times, blues are played 24/7 without a lot of annoying flashing lights and overly irritating gestures.
Some of the blues clubs in SL are larger venues like Fogbound and Junkyard and others like Voodoo Bayou and Hotlanta are smaller clubs, but all have several things in common, they all reflect the hole-in the wall juke joint vibe of a RL blues joint, the crowds are always hopping and the sound is sweet hot blues perfect for a cold winter’s day.
- Voodoo Bayou, Voodoo Bayou (101, 136, 22)
- Hotlanta Blues, Northfarthing (36, 213, 603)
- Junkyard Blues, Junkyard Blues (188, 19, 22)
- Fogbound Blues, Moon Bay (183, 64, 26)
Written and Photographs by Sita Writer