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Fruteland Jackson - Singing the Blues with Stories Vol. 1

“The Life and Legend of Robert Johnson”

“Stewball – The Blind Racehorse”

IT Records #IT004

2 stories; 1 song; 30 minutes

Styles: Spoken Word with Sound Effects in 2 Blues Stories; 1 Blues Ballad (song)

In the days when diversions of the Digital Age were fanciful dreams, sagas and tall tales were king. Stories not only kept us entertained, but in some cases, kept us alive. When there was no Facebook, there was fiction. When LinkedIn did yet exist, legends did. Fruteland Jackson, three-time Blues Music Award nominee for Best Acoustic Album and Best Acoustic Artist, feels the importance of stories deep down in his bones, especially as they relate to his favorite genre. In Singing the Blues with Stories, Volume One (available only by digital download), Fruteland combines two of his favorite anecdotes with a mesmerizing ballad in the middle. Three tracks plus one song equals magic!

“Many, many years ago, a very famous horse race took place in Dallas, Texas between a common, ordinary gray farm horse named Stewball, who was matched against two of the fastest thoroughbred racehorses in the world...” So begins Fruteland's narration of “Stewball, the Blind Racehorse”--an inspiring yarn that rivals that of Secretariat. “Big Red” may have had a heart that was twice as large as a normal horse's, but according to this tale and the following acoustic blues rendition, Stewball bested a mare, Molly, and a stallion, Wild Bill, minus sight in two eyes! Even if listeners “sneak a preview” of the song before hearing the ten-minute story, they will exhort its hero along with Fruteland, “Run, Stewball, for Molly's gone!” In “The Life and Legend of Robert Johnson,” Jackson combines fact with legend into a spooky sixteen-minute suspense-fest if ever there was! Fruteland's voice was digitally engineered when he portrayed the character of the Devil, so listen closely (if the shivers don't come first!)

Fruteland Jackson has been involved in storytelling most of his life in one way or another. During his grammar-school years, he wrote and read short stories aloud that made his classmates laugh! He first experienced a professional storytelling in the 3rd grade while at the public library. He was intrigued and fascinated by the visuals created in his mind by the storyteller. He discovered that his grandparents and uncle were natural storytellers without the formal title. Throughout his career as a musician, he has visited classrooms presenting Blues in the Schools programs and storytelling.

“Be careful, young man, what you ask for”--so the snake doctor warned Robert Johnson. Asking for two fantastic stories done in mesmerizing style? You'll certainly find them here!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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