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The seeds of rock ‘n’ roll were sowed the day the first enslaved Africans stepped onto Turtle Island. 1619. Before reservations, before small pox, before Indian boarding schools, their chains dug furrows in the Virginia Colony soil and their blood and tears and songs mingled with the fertile earth. A new type of misery was introduced to the continent this day. And from this misery we created America. We built colonies, then cities, grew plantations and wealth. Through the toil of these enslaved people a wilderness was transformed into a prosperous country in the span of a few hundred years, for better or worse. They gave us this, and as if it weren’t enough they then turned around and gave us music so powerful that by 1970, less than 400 years later, it had completely changed the world. Rock ‘n’ roll changed the world, there’s no doubt about that, and rock ‘n’ roll is the blues at 1000 RPM. Blues, gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, if there is any culture that can be identified as distinctly American, it exists only because of
photo: Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry, owner of legendary juke joint Poor Monkey‘s, in Marigold, Miss. by: Ungelbah Davila
Africa. Even the banjo is derived from an African instrument called a kora. “If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock ‘n’ roll or any other form of popular music,” a quote by Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones, named after a Muddy Waters song, schooled themselves on American blues, and in his autobiography, Richards writes that the Stones’ greatest contribution to music was reconnecting Americans back to their own invention, the blues. This issue pays tribute to this musical legacy so unique to the United States and so profound to the rest of the world. The sounds that were brought to the continent and then evolved in slave quarters, plantation fields, churches and picket lines are, to me, above all a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and proof that even within the harshest conditions humanity can survive, and not just survive, but create culture and incredible beauty. - Ungelbah Dávila Editor-in-chief
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The story of the blues is an extremely important chapter of musical and American history. Quite a feat for a musical style birthed in poor rural communities and plantation fields, where it’s most famous practitioner was an obscure Mississippian named Robert Johnson, a man who is known to have made a deal with the Devil in the middle of a crossroads on a night in the 1930s. But where did this musical form come from that influenced the styles of Elvis, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few? The history of the blues is a strange story with deep roots that have greatly shaped American culture. To know the story of American blues music, one must trace its path back to its birthplace in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta is the northwest region of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi River and the Yazoo River. This section of the South, heavily populated by black sharecroppers and tenant farmers in the early 20th century, is commonly acknowledged to be where the blues was born. Here, the origins of blues music was very poorly documented due to African American discrimination and low literacy, so early blues music took the form of loose narratives, which often wove tales of the troubles within African American society. Of course, to truly understand the full story of blues music, one must go back even further, to a time between 1619 and 1808 when people of Africa where taken from their homelands and forced into slavery for the first American colonies. After the Revolutionary War, the rapid expansion of the cotton industry starting in 1800, leading to the Southern states strongly identifying with slavery, while abolitionist laws spread in the North. The United States was polarized into “slave” and “free” states along the Mason-Dixon Line. Although the international slave trade was prohibited in 1808, internal slave-trading continued, and the slave population would eventually peak at four million before abolition. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of no new slave states, the South finally broke away to form the Confederacy. This marked the start of the Civil War, which caused a huge disruption of Southern life, with many slaves either escaping or being liberated by the Union armies. The war effectively ended slavery, before the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 formally outlawed the institution throughout the U.S. For slaves, who left their homelands in Africa, music was a way for them to keep their culture alive in their hearts. The “blues” origin is derived from mysticism involving blue indigo, which was used by many West African cultures in death and mourning ceremonies to dye clothing to show suffering. The mystical association towards the indigo plant, also grown in many U.S. slave plantations, combined with the African slaves who sang of their suffering as they worked on the cotton that the indigo eventually dyed resulted in the songs being first known as “the blues.” It has also been suggested that the melancholy of the songs sung in the plantations had an Igbo origin since this Southern Nigerian ethnic group had a reputation for their sad outlook while they were enslaved. Many blues music elements, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, which were notes that had a kind of twang, created by bending notes to form sounds that we had never heard before, can be traced back to the music and traditions of Africa. Call-and-response shouts were an early form of functional expression. It was a style without accompaniment or harmony and unbounded by the formality of any particular musical structure. These were pre-blues forms that were heard in slave ring shouts and field hollers and were simple solo songs full of emotional content. Although no specific African musical form can be identified as the single direct ancestor of the blues, many musical elements as well as specific instruments, including the banjo, can be traced back to African roots. Francis Davis, author of “The History of the Blues: The Roots, the Music, the PAGE 8
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People,” suggests that the blues happened "as a result of one group of people being forced to enter another's history." Once the African slaves began giving birth to new generations of African-Americans, the influences of their root cultures intermingled with their new cultures, and the environment was ripe for the emergence of American blues music. In the American South of the 1890s, blues music was a distinct African American art form, a result of a black cultural melting pot. It drew from a rich mix of African American spirituals, traditional songs, European hymns, folk ballads, work songs, hollers, and contemporary dance music. The story of the blues, then, is essentially the history of Africans who became African Americans told through their most popular musical forms and roots. It first sprouted from slave culture as unaccompanied vocal music and oral traditions of slaves and it continued to grow out of the frustrations of failed Radical Reconstruction, of violence and dashed hopes for the freed blacks in the resurgent Jim Crow South, of the desperation of the sharecropping system, and of the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. Blues coincided with the Emancipation Act and later the development of juke joints where African Americans went to listen to their music, dance and gather. The story of the blues is the story of black culture coming to a position of prominence and influence in American society. By this time, most audiences simply defined blues music as the music of the American rural south, rather than recognize its origins in West Africa. Blues was once defined as the secular counterpart of the Afro-American spirituals and was considered the Devil’s music, the low-down music played by the rural blacks. The music industry eventually started producing music made by African Americans and called it “race music,” which was marketed towards blacks, while similar music was being created by and for white people and was called “hillbilly music.” “Blues” was sometimes a code word for a record made to be sold to black audiences. Blues is the story of the women of the classic blues era whose early records—the first "race" recordings—pointed to a tremendous market for African-American cultural production, and of the young white liberals and intellectuals who sought out the rural blues as an artifact of America's vanishing ing agrarian past. Looking forward, one can see the blues as a powerful force both shaping ng and shaped by the evolution of American popular culture and the history of black and white race relations in the century ahead. Chroniclers began an to report about blues music in the South at the dawn of the 20th century. ry. Jelly Roll Morton declared having heard blues for the first time in New Orleans in 1902. Ma Rainey, “Mother of the Blues,” remembered red her first blues experience in Missouri in 1902 and W.C.. Handy first heard the blues in Mississippi in 1903. The first non-commercial recordings ecordings of the blues were made in the beginning of the 20th century forr research purposes and are now all utterly lost. Robert W. Gordon and his successor of the Archive of American Folk Songs of the Library y of Congress, John Lomax, and his son Alan Lomax, made thousands ands of non-commercial recordings of early Delta blues music, as well as a variety of other proto-blues styles, such as field hollers and ring shouts and folk music, while crisscrossing the southern states and recording cording ordinary musicians in their elements throughout the 1930s and 1940s. These recordings now reside in the Smithsonian Institute. By 1912, blues sheet music was being published. One artist, W. C. Handy, who was a formally trained musician, helped popularize larize blues by orchestrating blues in an almost symphonic style; he became came very well known and billed himself as the “Father of the Blues.” Blues came into its own as an important part of the country's relatively new national popular culture in the 1920s with the recording, first, of thee great female classic blues singers and, then, photo: Delta cotton fieldsingers after harvest, Clarksdale,Delta, Miss.the of the Acountry folk blues of the Mississippi by: Ungelbah Davila Piedmont of the Carolinas, s, and Texas. As huge numbers of African
Americans left the South between 1915 and the 1940s, the blues went with them and took root in the urban centers of the North. The Delta blues became one of the earliest styles of blues music and it emerged in the 1920s. Delta blues’ defining characteristic is instrumentation and an emphasis on rhythm and “bottleneck” slide, as well as first person accounts dealing with themes including sexuality, incarnation, traveling lifestyles and tribulations. In big city blues, female singers, such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Mamie Smith, dominated the recordings of the 1920s. Soon after, blues sub-genres emerged, including Memphis blues, Chicago and West Coast blues, country blues, boogie-woogie and big band blues, California blues, Delta blues and Piedmont blues. The more urban blues that developed soon eclipsed the Rural blues of the '30s and fed directly into both rock ‘n’ roll and what would become known as rhythm and blues. After WWII, acoustic blues transitioned to electric blues, which opened the music to a wider audience, especially white listeners in the 1950s with the help of record companies who focused on producing African American music. One of the most notable Chicago record companies that became the “home of the electric blues,” which musician and critic Cub Koda labeled “America’s greatest blues label,” was Chess Records, which was founded in 1950 by Polish immigrant brothers Leonard and PAGE 10
Phil Chess. Chess Records specialized in blues, R&B, soul, jazz, gospel and early rock ‘n’ roll, and they signed one of the most important artists who came out of Memphis, Howlin’ Wolf, who stayed with the label until his death in 1976. Howlin' Wolf also recorded early on with Sam Phillips of Sun Records. The “blues brothers” of Chess Records convinced the Delta-born-and-bread slide guitarist Muddy Waters to leave his current label and record for them, which helped set apart their little company from the hundreds of other R&B labels across the country. Chess Records eventually created a monopoly of Chicago blues music recordings, working with virtually every major blues performer of that time. Some of the core riffs created by Chess blues artists Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters were the basis of a wide amount of future Rock and Roll. Many of the songs created by Chess artists were later reproduced by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and Eric Clapton. In the 1960s, a hybrid form called blues rock evolved, which included a boom of British blues after Muddy Waters to leave his current label and record for them, which helped set apart their little company from the hundreds of other R&B labels across the country. Chess Records eventually created a monopoly of Chicago blues music recordings, working with virtually every major photo: Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale, Miss.
“I’ve been in this business 58 years. i opened this bar to stay out the streets. We don’t play nothin’ but the blues. blues only. All the blues sounds good to me.” — Willie “Po’ Monkey”
Seaberry, owner of legendary juke joint Poor Monkey‘s, in marigold, mississippi
photo: Willie “Po’ Monkey” outside his juke joint, Marigold, Miss.
blues performer of that time. Some of the core riffs created by Chess blues artists Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters were the basis of a wide amount of future rock ‘n’ roll. Many of the songs created by Chess artists were later reproduced by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and Eric Clapton. In the 1960s, a hybrid form called blues rock evolved, which included a boom of British blues after Muddy Waters shocked audiences there by playing his amplified electric blues in London. By the 1970s, '80s and '90s new musical influences were intermingling with blues roots. Artists like John Lee Hooker, The White Stripes, The Black Crows and the Black Keys were producing soul-infused, virtuoso guitar, acoustic, electric blues and blues rock music that has lead to a renewed interest in blues that suggests talk of another blues revival or resurgence. For the complete story of the blues, one must also fully understand the impact that blues music has had on today's society. Is blues still alive and kicking? Do people still want to know the history of American blues music? To answer that, I asked Albuquerque’s self-taught blues musician Joe Warner, who has been a bluesman and band leader for the last 30 years. He says that every musician he listened to, like the amazing Robert Johnson, and every artist he studied under, including his mentor the rhythm guitar player Buddy Smith, gave him insight into how important this music was to people and how its traditions and language have been passed to others. Warner says what defines blues music to him is that “it is stripped down to 3 chords, there is not a lot left when you do that. You have to make it into something. It has to have a feel, creativity, a groove. Without those, it can’t work. It has a feel, a circle, timing to it that draws me in.” When asked why people should care about the blues today, he says, “Blues is not about being down in the dumps. It’s about perseverance and overcoming hardships. Blues singers would express anguish in a healthy way to keep from concealing their feelings, and at times they substituted words for certain themes (such as using “woman” as code for feeling suppressed.) The essence of blues music is overcoming victimhood in a healthy way. People knew that having choices takes away the power of suppression. The blues is the most unique expression in American musical culture.” PAGE 12
photo: intirior of Poor Monkey’s Juke Joint, Marigold, Miss.
Clarksdale, Mississippi, sits at the crossroads of historic U.S. Routes 49 and 61, the location spurred into music mythology by bluesman Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues,” in which Johnson sings of visiting the crossroads to barter his soul with the Devil in exchange for success. While local historian and bass player Preston Rumbaugh contends that the actual deal was made near Dockery’s Plantation, a few miles away, Clarksdale and the surrounding area remains not only a cornerstone in the history of the blues but a vital player in it’s continuation. “The social dynamic in the Mississippi Delta were plantation owners and their slaves, and the overwhelming majority of the population in the Delta was African American. It has been said that any time up until the end of World War II that you visited the Mississippi Delta it was as close to visiting Africa on the North American continent as you could get. This is why the blues was born here. This is where rock’n’roll began; you know, with the first stirrings of Charley Patton down there at Dockery’s Plantation, pounding on a guitar and refusing to work, haha. “Clarksdale, being in the northern portion of the Delta, meant that any bluesman leaving the Delta to migrate North would have to pass through Clarksdale. So a lot of bluesmen lived here, and practically every bluesman came through here. The next destination would have been Memphis and then St. Louis and Chicago. Everybody from Robert Johnson to Ike Turner, Howlin’ Wolf, they all either lived, passed through or played gigs in Clarksdale. “The crossroads story that people refer to is Robert Johnson having sold his soul to the Devil at midnight to gain extra musical prowess. Ok, well that story has origins in both African and European traditions. You know, the Europeans have Faust that made that same bargain with a Satan-like figure. But here in Mississippi, it all goes back to Dockery’s Plantation.
“Talkin’ about the Reconstruction Era. It was very common for plantation owners to exploit their black tenant because the majority of them were illiterate. So they would cheat them year in and year out, and they would force black families to work year in and year out, and every year that they worked would put them deeper in debt to the plantation owners. “Now, there was one fella by the name of Will Dockery who had a plantation just south of here. The difference being that Will Dockery was a man of integrity and he actually paid his black sharecroppers what they were due. As a result, blacks flocked to Will Dockery and his plantation, knowing they could improve the quality of their lives if they lived there, because they actually got paid fairly. At its height, Will Dockery had a plantation spread that was about 20 miles and had 4,000 black families living on it. “The chief resident on the plantation was a fella by the name of Charley Patton. His presence on Dockery’s plantation attracted every other bluesman in the Delta region. They wanted to come to Dockery’s for a couple of reasons. For one, you’re safe on Dockery’s plantation. You’re not going to get lynched. On top of that, the blacks that live on the plantation have money because Will Dockery pays them, so if you go and play for them, you might actually make some money. And on top of that, while you’re there, you can study with Charley Patton, the only guy amongst them that’s got a recording contract with Paramount Records. He’s got hit records! He bought his own car, for cryin’ out loud, and he never works, all he does is play music and drink moonshine. “So the next thing you know over there on Dockery’s you’ve got Charley Patton, Son House, Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, and God knows how many more blues musicians. It was a hot bed of blues activity. You can say that the blues was born in the Mississippi Delta, but the absolute cradle of that birth was Dockery’s Plantation.” -- Preston Rumbaugh
Crossroads at the delta
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During any great social movement you will find music being created that speaks to the heart of the cause, delivering its message, unifying its people and propelling it forward in the way that only music can. Perhaps the most powerful example one can find in America of the blending of music and social justice occurred around the Civil Rights Movement in the decades spanning the 1950s through 1970s. Musicians during this period drew from a variety of musical forms, including gospel, jazz and blues, to express themselves, their faith and the struggle for human rights happening within black, white and brown communities across the nation. Messages of freedom and the perseverance of the human spirit have always been a part of gospel and blues songs, which were by and large created and perfected in the cotton fields and churches across the South. The men and women who were imported from Africa and enslaved in North America brought with them the musical traditions of their home, which continued and evolved in the New World. Slaves encountered Christianity for the first time, taking the Protestant hymns of their owners and integrating African call and response styles and other traditions to create gospel music that is unique to the United States. The message of Christ's struggle spoke to these enslaved people, who manifested their own struggles and praise through song, passing the tradition down through generations where its message continued to speak to the children of slaves, even into the 1950s. Naturally this music, which had always been a source of hope and inspiration within the African American community, became a powerful element during the Civil Rights Movement. And for those who weren't activists, many often came to gatherings initially to hear the music, only later taking up the cause. Aldon Morris, author of “Origins of the Civil Rights Movement,” claimed that leaders and organizers “came to understand the important political role that music and preaching played in organizing and removing fear from the masses,” and that “new movement organizations inherited the vibrant church culture, with its tradition of bringing whole congregations into community activities, a guarantee of mass participation.” According to Morris, organizers soon found that “if you are going to continue to lead a group of people you are going to have to put something into the program that those people like.” Quickly protesters and leaders alike internalized the powerful words of gospel songs and found themselves moved by the images they encountered within them. These songs, which along with the blues are the backbone of
rock and roll -- inspiring musicians from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones -- are a true testament of the power music possesses to break down racial and social divisions, unifying the hearts and minds of all people under one beautiful, pure umbrella of sound. The struggle for justice in America is as old as the conquered nation itself, with a history far older than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech and Rosa Park's brave 1955 refusal to relinquish her bus seat. Slavery historian Leon Litwack states that the Civil Rights Movement “began with the presence of enslaved blacks in the New World, with the first slave mutiny on the ships bringing them here.” Centuries after the end of the Civil War, in an increasingly modern post-WWII world, African American men and women began to challenge the injustices they confronted using, among other things, the gift of song. During the Civil Rights Movement, under the leadership of clergymen such as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Jesse Jackson, African American activists felt that the best way to achieve social change was through non-violent protest. Singing gospel hymns, such as “We Shall Overcome,” became a means of protection and courage, as well as a demonstration of how to fight with words, not violence. One of the ways music was such a powerful tool was that it could not be stolen, beaten or demoralized. The music, even when the people had been enslaved, marginalized, and segregated, was always free. Among the wealth of music from this period of American history, one song stands apart as the anthem of the movement. It begins, “We shall overcome...,” a phrase that was then used by Dr. King in one of his compelling sermons and adapted as the slogan for the movement. The famed, heart-wrenching gospel song "We Shall Over Come Some Day" originated as a 19th century hymn by Charles Tindley of the title, "I'll Over Come Someday." Later, the song was changed to what we now know it to be by workers on strike at the American Tobacco Company in Charleston, S. C., who sang it on the picket line to keep their spirits up. They later performed it for Zilphia Horton of the "Highlander Folk School" in Monteagle, Tenn. This school was a biracial training ground for activists and those who were interested in labor organizing, social reform and civil rights. After listening to this famous song in the making, Horton introduced it to Caucasian folk singer and political peace activist Peter Seeger. Seeger then added various other lines to the song, such as "black and white together," to create a new version that Highlander's music director Guy Caravan promoted as a "universal call for justice and human rights.” While the desegregation of music had happened long before in places like Sun Studios and Chess Records, suddenly a new era of white musicians, such as Peter Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Janis Ian and Phil Ochs, were tackling the issue of racism head on, singing “We Shall Overcome” and about the indignation of segregation and prejudice. Popular music was now taking the message and running and with it the support of young people from every community and demographic in the country, and around the world. While gospel music was undeniably a great influence on the Civil Rights Movement itself, it also aided in creating "black pride" and empowerment among African Americans, which in turn gave way to a whole new era of music and culture. Music was the power and push behind the Civil Rights Movement, seen no more so than in the final moments of the great leader Dr. King's life. Memphis big band leader Ben Branch had become close with Rev. Jackson and Dr. King in Chicago during the 1960s and had gone with them to Memphis in April 1968 in support of a sanitation worker’s strike. On the evening of April 4, 1968, Dr. King walked out of his room at the Lorraine Motel and onto the balcony to ask Branch, who was in the courtyard eight feet below, to play his favorite hymn, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” at that night's diner and rally. Moments later his life would be taken. Though the life of one of the world's most revered leaders ended that day in Memphis, propelling thousands into mourning and chaos, it was no doubt through the continued spirit found in those hymns that allowed for the people to heal and for the movement to press onward, creating the changes Dr. King and countless others had worked towards since the first African songs drifted into the sky, singing for freedom, their words free as air. PAGE 18
This is a fictional story based on real events of how two men came together to shake the souls of American teenagers through the unreal magnitude of Rock and Roll music.
July 5th, 1954 Memphis, Tennessee
The sun rose over Memphis. Its beams lit the corridor down Union Avenue to the Mississippi River. The air, not yet disrupted by harsh city sounds, carried the rare, faint call of a distant rooster waking up the country side. Thick, heavy hanging fog swirled with the smoke of a nearby waterside factory, parting like a curtain to reveal the pure gold promise of a new day on center stage. A brown station wagon pulled up to the small store front at 706 Union Avenue. Sam Phillips, a tall man with reddish brown tufts of hair peeking out from under a sailor hat and large sunglasses, ran around to the passenger door, talking excitedly as he helped a small blond woman, Marion Keisker, his office manager, out of the car. Above the store the arched neon S-U-N letters buzzed on. “Marion,” Sam said after pausing to take a breath, “Do you underphoto: Original microphone, Sun Studios, Memphis, Tenn.
stand what I’m telling you? I think he got that something different. Do you remember him coming in last year?” “Yes Mr. Phillips, I do remember,” says Marion, finally able to get a word in. “He’s been in a few times since the first time I recorded him singing 'My Happiness' and 'That's When Your Heartache Begins.' He said it was a gift for his mother's birthday. Before he recorded I asked him who he sounded like, he said he didn't sound like nobody. I remember him looking different too...” “We had coffee with that guitarist, Scotty Moore, a couple of days ago. That's the second time you suggested Elvis Presley, the boy with the sideburns. Let’s set up an informal audition with them. What do you think?” “I think music is ready to change, like you’ve been saying for a while now. You say white kids won’t buy black music? Well, maybe this is the white boy with the negro sound you’ve been looking for.” “Let's have him play with Scotty tonight. Ask him to bring a bassist if he knows one.” “I’ll make the call.” Sam sat back in his office chair, thinking about what Marion had said and reflecting on the things that had brought him to this moment. His PAGE 19
passion for music had started when he was a boy, picking cotton with his family out in the field alongside negro workers. He remembered their call back songs and simple hymns, providing rhythm to the tedium of picking cotton or hulling weeds. Even under such harsh conditions, they were able to make music and find pleasure. It had always amazed him. He'd watched these field songs passed down for generations, expressing the struggle, heartache and beauty of day to day life. He saw their influence in the blues, and in artists like Howlin' Wolf, whom he’d found and begun recording three years ago, in 1951. Sam thought back to one of his first trips to Memphis as a teenager and how he was enamored with the pulse of Beale Street. The blues singers strewn up and down the sidewalks at any given time of day or night, churned out sounds that penetrated deep into his heart. Sam, a white man, wanted to give those negro singers, who exposed their souls through music, a chance to be recorded and heard. That music spoke to the human spirit, he thought, and it didn't matter the color of the man or woman singing it, though he knew folks around Tennessee didn't necessarily agree. In 1950 Sam opened the Memphis Recording Service, where he advertised that he could record “Anything, Anywhere, Anytime.” Sam wanted to sign negro singers but he also wanted to make money and appeal to a larger market. He wanted to capitalize on the feeling of awe he felt on Beale Street, the mercy of gospel music he had heard as a child attending negro church services, and the depth of emotion contained in the blues. He'd created his own label, Sun Records, in 1952, where he recorded his favorite blues singers when he wasn't busy making records for the folks who would stop in with $4 and an idea. But, as much as he loved pure Delta blues, he wanted to reach a broader audience and had told Marion time and time again that the only way to do that was to find a white boy with a negro sound, and more importantly, a negro feel. Someone who could bridge the two cultures in one unique sound. If he could get it right, he was sure he could make a fortune, or at least pay the bills. Teenagers of the 1950s had no symbol of independence to distinguish them of their parents' generation. The country, finally brushing the post war dust off, felt an economic revival and while their parents were breathing sighs of relief, teens were falling into the gap. These teens were practically begging for a musical genre that spoke only to them. They craved a creative outlet that allowed them to satiate their desire to activate their imaginative feelings. They wanted music that could rock their rebellious souls. “Sam,” Marion poked her head in the door, breaking his day dreams. “Scotty Moore is going
to bring a bassist in with him tonight, his name is Bill Black. What time do we want them here?” “That's great, Marion. Just great. Call them back and call Elvis. Have them be here at 5:15 p.m. sharp.” Sam had high hopes for this audition. He wanted to keep it as a casual, open recording session, knowing that if he stood back and listened to every sound of every moment that magic would happen. It was the hottest night it had been all summer. The boys were hot, sweaty and verging on stifling frustration. The session wasn't going as smoothly as planned and everyone was getting edgy. Nineteen-year-old Elvis stopped playing his guitar, his smooth, moody face wrinkled at the brow. “Hey, uh we need a break, I think.” He pulled a half torn yellowed wash cloth out of his back pocket and wiped his brow vigorously, as if to ease an itch. He kept covering his entire face with the cloth and with every wipe unveiling his focused eyes with a fire burning behind them. To Sam, there was the look of a monster lurking in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. On the outside, Elvis was shy and polite but Sam knew there was something wanting to emerge. This monster inside Elvis sat dormant for most of the night, the trio playing cover after cover of slow popular ballads that just seemed to fall flat the minute they came out. He didn't want another cookie cutter pop star. Sam could feel his high hopes falling. He would have to start his search all over again at the rate things were going. “Hey Elvis,” said Sam from the sound booth, “Is there a damn song you can do that sounds worth a damn?” “Well, Mr. Phillips, could I play just one more? I do feel this shake and rattle inside of me, though. ” Elvis paused and looked down at his guitar as if the sound were in the hollows of the instrument. “If you could just let me blow off some steam and let out some of this nervous energy I have first, that would be great.” Suddenly there it was, the devil himself, shaking and shuddering across the small room to this fast tempo version of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right, Mama,” just jumping around like a fool. As if on cue Moore and Black jumped in and picked up the harmony. The sound was new. It was raw and a little dirty. It was sexy and offensive and exactly the kind of thing that a bunch of hopped up teenagers could move their wanting hips against. Elvis couldn't help himself. His pelvis jerked wildly from side to side, back to front, his feet moving in erratic shuffles that seemed to disconnect from the rest of his body. He grabbed the microphone like he meant to make love to her. Moore and Black started jumping around and acting like fools, too. Everyone was having a time and the energy was electric. In moments everyone in the studio was
tapped into the charge. Sam Phillips sat in disbelief, not only did this white boy know this old blues song but he was making it his own. I have a hit, he thought excitedly to himself. This sound was erotic in a way that it could shock a nation, heck, maybe even shock an entire generation into creating a rebellion that might spark a cultural revolution. “Stop!” Sam yelled clapping his hands as he ran over to Elvis. “Why have you been holding out on me this whole time?” Unaware of the connection he just made with Sam, the insecure Elvis replied, “You liked that Mr. Phillips? Really?” “I had no idea that you had any interest in blues.” “Yes, sir. I’ve always really liked gospel and the blues. I just never thought it was OK for me to sing it because my skin color is wrong, you know?” “There ain’t nothing wrong with you. You're just right.” Sam knew what he was hearing was right, but now that it was in his hands he wondered if maybe it was so radical people wouldn't know how to react to it. He decided the best way to test the waters was to send his pal Dewey Phillips, a disc jockey at a local radio station, WHBQ, a copy to play over the radio. Overnight the song became a smash in Memphis. People were calling in from all around to find out just what the hell that was. Sam still had the dilemma of what to record for the other side of the album so he could release it to the public. Over the next few days Sam and Elvis recorded an unorthodox version of the bluegrass classic “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” “Race music on one side and country music on the other,” said Sam to Elvis when they completed the recording. “This is exactly what we want.” “Do you think people will listen to it?” Elvis asked, unsure. “I think people will be shocked by the different approach you took with these two songs.” Sam grinned as large as he could. “But they’ll have to listen to the changes, won’t they? Just to see what brutality has taken place. People are already calling the radio stations requesting your songs. Next we get it to air in New York City.” Sam called Alan Freed a few days later. Freed was a disk jockey who had been playing R&B on his show on WJW in Cleveland, Ohio, and recently moved to New York City. He seemed a ring leader for the new American music movement. “Alan, I’m sending over an album I just did with a young man, Elvis Presley, that I need you to play on your show. This is the sound we’ve been looking for.” “Elvis,” Alan said inquisitively. “Great name. photos: Sun Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
What kind of music does he play?” “It’s like nothing you've ever heard. He has a beautiful voice, discovered him as a ballad singer. The album I'm sending over, it's got a different version of 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' and 'That’s Alright Mama' is already a hit here in Memphis. We want to make it a hit everywhere. We need you to play it on your show.” “Blue Moon?” Alan paused as if asking himself the question. “That's hillbilly music.” “It's a different version, and it’s the kind of music that rocks your soul, that’ll rock everyone’s soul.” “Rockabilly?” Alan was trying hard to figure out what to call this new sound. “No no, that doesn’t work. It’s not hillbilly at all. Elvis is a tall handsome man with thick sideburns and a moussed back pompadour. His look is straight out of Beale. He said he had a shake, rattle, and roll inside him that took some convincing to come out.” “Sam, we gotta call it something. What do I tell my listeners?” “Tell them, music for the soul.” “You know what Sam?” Alan knew he had to come up with something because Sam just wasn't going to give this up. “I’ll play this because I’ve never heard someone so convinced that this is the next big thing.” “It's more than a musical trend. This is about to be a cultural revolution that's going to help us express all our deepest aspirations and ideas. I'm telling you! It's music that rocks your soul. “Well, then we'll call it Rock and Roll. Just remember you started it all, Sam Phillips. You and this young man, this Elvis Presley. Can you feel it, Sam? Rock and Roll.”
“I am Zahira Kelly, pin up artist, illustrator, photographer, wardrobe stylist, fashion designer, singer, songwriter, and tattoo artist, for starters— from The Bronx, NY, with roots in the Dominican Republic. A lover of classic Americana, I was unable to find pin ups who looked like me and soon found myself on a mission to create my own featuring women of color in a variety of mediums. My images are inspired by beauty icons of yesteryear, my roots, pop art and street style.” kellysdolls.com
The mystique and allure of Voodoo is a testament to our human
nature's fascination with darkness. In our lust for the taboo we often sacrifice truth – and humanity – in favor of a sensational myth. There were no shortage of “Pagan” practices that were found or washed upon the shores of the New World, yet beyond the religious persecution that all of these indigenous ways endured, Voodoo has somehow managed to captivate the dark side of the imagination and root itself in pop culture's lurid cortex. Early Americans rejected Voodoo for its connection to their slave population and obvious contradiction to their own dogmas, branding it as Devil worship, and in doing so making it well placed for a much later incarnation in some serious Rock and Roll à la Voodoo Lounge, Voodoo Child, and Voodoo Dancer, to name a few. For those who have no real knowledge of this religious practice, it glimmers in the realm of the unknown, the forbidden, the dangerous, where it endures a new kind of persecution (one familiar to so many indigenous ways) – commercialization and appropriation. In her home, among the China-made Mardi Gras beads, shot glasses and $10 voodoo kits, this mythic sister exists like a luscious woman of the night, emerging from the shadows of a candy-colored doorway on Frenchman
Street, beckoning for your soul in exchange for a brief, fecund knowledge. But behind the doorway, deep in the inner rooms of New Orleans and places around the world, Voodoo continues as it always has, as a religion deeply rooted in African culture, healing practices, and, of course, music. The origins of Voodoo, or Vodou, practiced most commonly in New Orleans, Haiti, Cuba and beyond, arrived from the arid depths of West Africa in the minds and spirits of a captive race. With slave masters hell bent on eradicating all native African religions within a week of the slaves' arrival, African Vodun beliefs began to incorporate aspects of Christianity and America Indian ways, at once disguising itself and creating the Voodoo practiced today. An example of the cultural melding that occurred to create Voodoo can be seen in veve designs used to depict deities that are drawn in corn meal, a method that was introduced by American Indians. A cross is also commonly seen in Voodoo, though it is not connected to the crucifixion, but rather to the theology surrounding the frequent crossroads we encounter in life. As a religion without a standardized dogma or single book of scripture, Voodoo found fluidity, adopting from the new cultures surrounding it as its African caretakers and their children tried to make PAGE 27
a home on this new continent, within unspeakable conditions. Music became a vital survival tool for these displaced people, not only as an outlet for their suffering and a reminder of their humanity, but as a form of oral tradition and record keeping. Before the Gospel, before the Blues, and way before Rock and Roll, the fields and plantations of the Americas resounded with the music of West Africa, and within it memories of a lost home. Out of memory and ashes, music was created, and with it, Voodoo. While it is practiced in many ways around the world, with beliefs and rituals taking on different forms, a few aspects of Voodoo are fairly universal. Voodoo is a monotheistic religion in that it believes in the existence of a single God, Bondye the “Good God.” A remote and unreachable God, Bondye and his followers rely on spirits called Lwa to communicate between this world and the paralleled after life. The lwa are many and vary in the their degree of good, deviance and purpose, but they all strictly exist to help serve Bondye's good will. Voodoo priests and priestess perform rituals and animal sacrifices to appease and provide sustenance for the Lwa. In return the Lwa may provide guidance and help by creating a line of communication munication with deceased family members ers in the afterlife. Voodooists will sacrificee an animal, then cooking and consuming the flesh as an offering to a desired Lwa. a. One of the most common mon misconceptions about Voodoo is that it is inherently evil and its followers worship the Devil. This myth strongly stems back to a Haitian slave rebellion in 1791. Gaining strength and leadership from Voodoo priests, iests, the slaves of Haiti called upon the warrior rrior Petro Lwa to help them end their oppressive essive conditions. After a violent but successful cessful rebellion, and the eradication of white masters and slavery in Haiti, neighboring ring countries completely demonized Voodoo, o, contributing the rebellion's success to a pact ct with the Devil and forcing Voodoo further her into secrecy. However, the Devil paranoia came from Christian theology, as a devil deity ity doesn't exist in Voodoo. Althoughh angry and spiteful Lwa do exist, Bondye's ye's evil counterpart, or “Devil,” does not, and the majority of Voodoo practice is directed ected towards the healing and positive Lwa. Demon possession is another misconcepsconception attributed to Voodoo that, again, n, derives from Christian misunderstandings. While many modern religions view possession sion as the unwanted invasion of one's body by a demonic spirit, there are no need for exorcisms in Voodoo. Possessions by a Lwa
are common and desired to become a spiritual opening of dialogue between this and the spirit world. Perhaps the most common images associated with Voodoo are of bone-clad witch doctors resurrecting zombies out of the ground while poking the eyes out of their enemy by way of the stitched features on a Voodoo doll. The history of zombies vary as some practices believed that sorcerers or witch doctors could raise the dead into a soulless and mindless state to be controlled and used as they desired. Others believe that the zombie state refers to a horrible curse upon the deceased that takes them back to the oppressive and spiritless state of slavery. Whatever the origin, it is an almost unheard of practice. Thank you, Hollywood. Again, perverted by pop culture, true Voodoo dolls are used in different rituals of Voodoo though very rarely to inflict pain. Dolls are bound with different colored ribbons to heal an illness or combat a personal pain. They are also constructed to represent different Lwa and placed on alters or hung from trees as an offering to the spirits. Although pins can be used to inflict pain through a doll by someone who knows this practice, they are generally used to relieve mental and physical anguish for the creator or someone they love. Among the witchy tourist traps throughout the French Quarter, selling Voodoo for a dime a dozen, the occasional holes in the wall will appear where, if they are seeking, a visitor may come close enough to catch a truthful twinkle of the power and mystery of this unique way of life. Behind the Voodoo Authentica shop where you may purchase a â€œrealâ€? Voodoo doll or mojo bag, the Voodoo Museum, the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Marie Laveau's tomb are not only powerful spiritual people utilizing this practice, but a thriving culture based on Voodoo knowledge. This vibrant culture, created out of captivity and survival, is anything but the dark mumbo-jumbo it has been credited as. Rather it is like life itself, at once dark and colorful, joyous and heart wrenching. And beyond that, and perhaps most importantly, it is a continuation of memory, a living reminder of the journey from Africa and all that has passed since, and within that, hopefully, a connection to an indigeneity that was sought to be broken and destroyed.
images photographed at the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum by: Ungelbah Davila PAGE 29
photo: Marie Laveau’s tomb, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans. It reads: “This Greek revival tomb is the reputed burial place of this notorious ‘Voodoo Queen.’ A mystic cult, Voodooism, of African origin, was brought to this city from Santo Domino and flourished in 19th Century. Marie Laveau was the most widely known of many practitioners of the cult.” by: Ungelbah Davila PAGE 30
I meander down a street in the Bywater neighborhood, ppast playing flocks of wild, post-Katrina chickens and gaggles of kids play their in the road and on the small lawns of once-elegant houses, the candy colors and scrolling metalwork run down like wartime debutants. Here I am welcomed into a small, picket-fenced ho home by tattoo artist Pauly Lingerfelt of New Orleans Downtown Tattoos. His home opens up like a museum of NOLA culture aand history. Through velvety curtains the late afternoon sun casts shadows on antique Voodoo relics, taxidermied critters of the South, and other curios as if specifically planned for the mysterious effect. Outside the feral foul depart from the streets and take to the trees in the backyard as dusk descends across the Crescent City. Inside Lingerfelt rolls a cigarette at the kitchen table and we begin to discuss tattooing, Voodoo and the experience of day-to-day life in one of the nation’s richest cultural hotbeds. Having acquainted myself with his work prior to our meeting I am intrigued by these simple yet captivating designs that seem to be one of his specialties. “Veves,” he tells me, “are a drawing that represents a spirit, or we call them Lwa, in Voodoo.” It is from these visual depictions of Voodoo deities that Lingerfelt styles his own designs, such as the tattoo that he will be giving me the following day, which borrows from a feminine veve while incorporating crescent
moons symbolic of New Orleans. If a client comes to him with a specific veve they want tattooed he will oblige, he says, but in his own veve-inspired designs he prefers to stylize them so as to diminish the power they hold and also protect his customers from finding themselves in any sticky situations with actual Voodoo practitioners. When I was first introduced to Lingerfelt’s work it was by a former NOLA resident who told me, when you go to New Orleans, you have to look him up, his work is New Orleans. He wasn’t exaggerating. It’s Voodoo and gators, chicken feet and serpents. Everything that we of the West imagine the Big Easy to be: Fecund, dangerous and seductive, like the wood cut illustrations of a back alley apothecary cookbook. Each image reads like the key ingredient to a gris-gris. Even images not necessarily iconic of the city continue to invoke the area’s unmistakable vibe, an inherent magic that can only be found in this luscious place, this sultry garden of good and evil. “I feel like New Orleans is a place where, more than a lot of other cities, tradition is important,” says Lingerfelt. “To me, anything that has culture in New Orleans is rooted in Africa. It’s beautiful. I love it. I study culture and history constantly. I think as a young, white American male you have to learn to appreciate that and understand it and it’s kind of your duty, in a sense.“ Growing up in New Orleans, Lingerfelt says he has always been around and interested in Voodoo, as well as African and other cultures unique to his home. And as anyone familiar with NOLA might also expect, his favorite place to be when he’s not at home is at home in a bar, or exploring one of the many picturesque campo santos the city is known for. Lingerfelt, whose arms are sleeves of black and grey tattoos, got his first at age 16 in someone’s kitchen. Seven years later, he began apprenticing at Hubba Hubba Tattoo under artist Patrick Cox. He approached the decision to begin tattooing as a career move out of a logical notion that since he could draw he could tattoo. But it wasn’t until he began, he says, that he got passionate about tattooing and for reasons he didn’t expect. “Once I began it became really exciting how limited it is,” says Lingerfelt. “Making art you can do whatever you want. In sculpture or painting or whatever it’s kind of limitless. The reason I didn’t want to get into tattoos is because I thought it seemed really limited, and then that ended up being the exciting part, working with people and skin and ageing and a machine.” PAGE 31
In his tattoos, which are almost exclusively line work, no matter the subject, Lingerfelt says he thinks a lot about “simple line weight.” “I like simple tattoos,” he says. “I like things that are kind of crude and have a gruffness to them, even if it’s a tattoo of a delicate thing, I want it to have a harshness about it, you know?” Aside from African influences, Lingerfelt cites discovering Russian prison tattoos at age 18 as a major influence on his love of the art form. “Russian prison tattoos will be of really beautiful things but done kind of roughly and on these prisoners who are really rough looking,” he says. It’s this rosy, bad-boy history of tattooing that interests him. “If you look at old photographs of these really harsh sailors they still have butterflies and flowers pretty much all over them. But it still looks edgy in a way, ‘cause it is, just in the decision making of getting one and what it takes to get it. I’m sure they were striving for nice things after living hard lives. Looking for some beauty in the world, even in their own hard way.” To view more of Lingerfelt’s work, visit paulylingerfelt.tumblr.com. Or book an appointment at Downtown Tattoos: 501 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, (504) 266-2211 PAGE 32
Original fixtures at The Ryman Auditorium, Home of the Grand Ole Opry (1943-1974), Nashville, Tennessee
Meet North Carolina vocalist Nikki Hill, whose internationally
touring roots rock ‘n’ roll band consists of herself, husband Matt Hill (guitar), Ed Strohsahl (bass), and Joe Meyer (drums.) In 2012 she released her self-titled EP, turning heads and drawing international attention, even earning herself taglines such as, “The Southern Fireball,” “the new soul sensation,” and even “the new Queen of Rock n’ Roll.” La Loca fist met up with Nikki on her tour through Albuquerque and was captivated by her ferocity and dynamic stage presence, paired with a soulful sound that brings to mind the energy of early musicians such as The Staple Singers and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. p Now in the midst of a European tour we were lucky enough gh to grab a few moments with her to catch up. La Loca Magazine: What musical footsteps do you ou feel you are walking in? Nikki Hill: I like to feel as though I'm walking in the footsteps of all the amazing artists and attitudes and styles that make up roots music. Gospel at the base of it all, and developing into everything verything I love today. All I want to do is show how much I appreciate music, usic, what it's done for me, and what I hope it does for others. And of course look cool and sound cool while doing it! LLM: Seems like you have real on-stage chemistry ry with your husband. Does that keep your marriage exciting? NH: Matt being Matt keeps our marriage exciting!! I love him and love performing with him. He definitely makes it always ys feel more like fun than work. Our job definitely makes for an exciting ng marriage. Although whatever we would be doing, it would be together, r, so I don't see us having a problem with excitement! LLM: Your image is very stripped down compared ed to most done-up rockabilly beauty queens. Is this to keep the emphasis hasis on the music? NH: I've never been the rockabilly beauty queen type. ype. I love vintage and I love dressing up, but a few broken heels, torn n seams, and sweat stained clothes later, after shows, and I realized I would ruin all my good clothes if I kept wearing them onstage! The clothes I wear onstage are my “street” clothes, too. I don't have a separatee stage closet, because d I can only being one I love everything I wear! We also tour so much and ty, and then when I'm suitcase, ouch! So I keep it simpler out of necessity, an better enjoy my home opening my closet is like Christmas, and I can d we all have many vintage pieces. I appreciate great stage outfits, and hat, so I take advansides to us and fashion is a great way to express that, here I have to wear a tage of it because, thankfully, I don't have a job where o look good! uniform! I like that I can change it up, and I like to LLM: What's your iPod shame? What song makess you dash across a party to change it when you're playing on shuffle? NH: Inside joke in the van, but I have Enigma's "Sadness" on my iPod. That song is hilarious! LLM: How do you listen to your music? NH: When at home, needle to vinyl, all day. LLM: What's the biggest bullshit happening in music today? What's the most awesome? NH: Biggest bullshit: Autotune. Most awesome: The resurgence of vinyl! LLM: What's the best meal you've ever had in your entire life and where? NH: Oh no! This is like the equivalent for me of the 'favorite musician' question! Haha. That's PAGE 26
a tough one. Seriously. I do have to say the food in New Orleans gives me incredible nostalgic vibes of home cooking with intense flavor. San Diego has the best tortillas and carnitas I've ever tasted. The crab straight out of the water in Alaska is like seafood ambrosia. And Spain does ham, among many other incredible dishes, like no other. I love food! And this job certainly brings you some of the best (and worst, let's be real) culinary experiences imaginable! LLM: You walk into your favorite bar, where is it and what's your usual? NH: Bourbon neat if it's chilly outside. Warm days, I like tequila, neat with lime or club soda. Visit Nikki at: nikkihillmusic.com
Start to see how things around you fall into place and allow it to influence your everyday life.
Libra – Sept. 23rd to October 22nd
Welcome to the New Year! We are finally all settling down after some long holidays and figuring out how to recover, physically, mentally, and financially. Starting this January, we’ll see some significant changes in our lives with some new energy floating around, and we’ll see what works in our lives and what doesn’t. This year cut the fat! Period. Aries – March 21st to April 19th
This year will be a special one for you. All your focus will pay off if you stick to your guns! Now that your head is above the clouds you can see exactly what you need and what you don’t. But I know you Aries, you’ll second guess you actions. Don’t. See the good in yourself and those that are closest to you, and you can’t go wrong.
Taurus – April 20th to May 20th
My stubborn Taurus, starting around the third week of January you’ll start to feel like you need or are craving some kind of change. Totally normal as this year is the perfect year to do so. If you have been feeling a bit lost with your inner-self, or even your spiritual-self, reach out and start to explore new angle. Rekindle yourself with something that feels right. My best advice for you is to start a simple 10-minute or so meditation to help that seed bloom.
Gemini – May 21st to June 20th
This year is definitely a new twist in your dual self. Come March, you’ll be probably feeling like you need to keep your trusted circle of close loved ones even closer and start to slowly clip the cords to the ones you have to question. Like it or not, you will feel a force of balance and this is as positive as it is an award. Roll with it. This year is yours to really grow on new levels.
Cancer – June 21st to July 22nd
Feeling a bit more reclusive? It’s ok my dear Cancer. It’s time for you to take some much needed time for you, just you. Make time for your loved ones, but make some time for you. That feeling of wanting to be cut off a bit will fade. After March you’ll feel a bit renewed that spring is right there waiting to present you with some new adventures and positive feelings.
Leo – July 23rd to August 22nd
Holidays were probably a bit overwhelming for you. That is ok. January is a perfect time to really set your goals. Set them month to month as it’ll be easier to keep track of what is working, and what isn’t working. Try to come up with some new creative ideas in February to set the tone for the next few months. You got this Leo!
Virgo – August 23rd to Sept. 22nd
With this holiday season passing, you probably have the urge to bust through everything and start organizing the hell out of everything in your sight. I encourage you to do so. When you feel organized, really sit and set out goals for the next few months, even some outdoor activities to soak up some fresh air, cold or not, just go out and do it. PAGE 46
Feeling a bit unbalanced lately Libra? You are not alone. Most Libras I know have been very affected by all the crazy chaos and energy floating around that they can’t control. But, it’s a new year! January, even into February, will be perfect timing for you to balance yourself out, and then you’ll notice how everything around you will follow lead. Moodiness, easily irritated -- all normal. Just breathe and work on you. You’re going to do just fine.
Scorpio – October 23rd to Nov. 21st
You may be feeling a bit pent up with energy you have no idea how to let go of or release in a positive way. My recommendation for you is to find a new outlet to be creative with, or even pick up an evening class somewhere learning how to paint, yoga, or a shooting range. Either way, find something new and you’ll see how easily you regain focus and get back to your normal, saucy self.
Sagittarius – Nov. 22nd to Dec. 21st
I know you are glad the holidays are over -- we all are -- and now it’s time to work on your ritual habits you so easily picked up along the way. And since this new year is a great time to reorganize a few things in your life, pick a new habit that will benefit your everyday life, and that will help you eliminate a few that aren’t so great. This year is truly going to be an amazing opportunity for you to grow in many directions, and I say go for it!
Capricorn – Dec. 22nd to Jan.19th
Holidays don’t seem to faze you much, but setting goals is a bit tougher for you than other signs because you find one thing you are good at and you do anything else. Well, I’m encouraging you to get out and find one new thing to start working on, even something you are questioning, and just try it. Exercise your mind more and watch this year flourish in new ways.
Aquarius – Jan. 20th to Feb. 18th
January is definitely a strong month for you. Knowing you my dear Aquarius, you probably out-did yourself again this past year with holidays, now to recoup. You are one of the more sensitive signs and you need this to work with you. Start listening to your inner-self more, start trusting your instincts more, and let go of what doesn’t better you. Easier said than done, I know, but once you move a few things around and make room for the bigger picture you’ll see that by spring you’ll have some new ideas that actually work for you.
Pisces – Feb. 19th to March 20th
Oh Pisces, I know this past year was a doozey for most Pisces I personally know. Even when given the tools to get through the tough energy we all had to deal with, you still did what you do within your comfort zone. Well I’m here to tell you it’s time to step out of that a bit more. It’s January 2015, it’s time to sit and list out some new goals, even goals that seem ridiculous. And it is ok to allow others’ input to boot you in the right direction. Spring is around the corner, and having a few new outlets will do you wonders. Seth Browder comes from a family of mediums. He continues to learn every day by using his energy work teachings and weaving them into his daily practices. Seth’s heightened intuition helps conjure daily forecast readings, as well as weekly and monthly horoscopes, to foretell and guide those in need.