Distance Learning the Blues

This week, on a whim, I bought a harmonica. It always seemed like a fun instrument to play, and you can get a quality instrument for just a few bucks.

There’s only one problem: I don’t know how to play the harmonica. I dug around a little on the net, and found a series of instructional materials on YouTube. As soon as I started watching one, I realized there was something crazy going on here:

The guy teaching the lessons was Adam Gussow, of Satan and Adam.

Satan and Adam was a blues group that was in heavy rotation at WRCT in the early 1990’s. The story, so it goes, is that Adam Gussow began jamming on the streets of New York with Sterling “Satan” McGee, a session-turned-street musician who played guitar and percussion at the same time; the documentary about them describes him as “Parliament Funkadelic meets Robert Johnson,” and the description is pretty good.

So, from his web site, modernbluesharmonica.com and on YouTube, Gussow has published over 150 video lessons for the beginning, intermediate, and advanced harmonica player. That this resource exists is so wonderfully ridiculous: it’s as if you decided to take up painting and you google for “painting lessons” and found Monet on YouTube, giving tips.

And even if you don’t want to learn how to play the harp, you can just listen to the amazing music:

Most of Satan and Adam’s music is available for purchase on Amazon. If you like straightforward and intense blues, you can’t go wrong with any of their albums.