Blues Music Genres We Dance To
+ Artist Examples
I’ve arranged here a simple table to see many of the blues music genres we dance to in our current global blues dance community.
Listed under each genre are a few artists that represent that genre, with links to specific songs or albums on Spotify.
There are many things that determine a genre of music. Some of the big categories to consider when listening and trying to differentiate one genre from another is the rhythm (ex: does it have a shuffle rhythm? a steady downbeat? or latin influences?), types of instruments that are playing (ex: are the instruments electric or acoustic? are there many brass instruments?), and the biggest consideration is the way the instruments are being played (ex: the guitar is played differently in different areas of the United States at different time periods).
One way that you can tell if a song is considered “blues enough” for our dance scene is to listen to the different instruments in the band and see how many have a classic blues sound (sounds that were common before the 1960s, with the exception of funk). Does the singer have a pop voice or a blues voice? Is the drummer a rock and roll drummer or a blues drummer? If more than one instrument is not playing a classic blues sound, then generally we consider it not suitable to dance to.**
As you explore the chart below, know that many artists crossed genres during their careers, like Muddy Waters who went from Mississippi Delta to Chicago. Also know that not all songs by a particular artist will be considered within the blues music we dance to, just like live musicians today. They are artists making their art.
Use these as a starting point to do your own exploring. Enjoy!
**(Of course this is an oversimplification and there will be exceptions to this, especially when we start talking about the line between jazz and blues, but it is a good starting point!)
Mississippi Delta Blues /
Old Country Blues
Modern Country Blues
Big City Blues / Electric
(Chicago, Detroit, Kansas, etc)
Classic Female Greats Jazz Blues
Big Band Jazz (Ballroomin’)
New Orleans Ballroom Jazz
/ Piano Blues