Tahlequah Daily Press

February 24, 2014

Aldridge to spotlight blues music during NSU event


TAHLEQUAH — Dr. Harold Aldridge, NSU emeritus professor of psychology, will present “An Evening of Blues Music,” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Webb Tower Room on the Northeastern State University campus.

Aldridge grew up in Taft, where he learned to play guitar from the town’s older musicians. During his presentation, Aldridge will discuss the history of the differing styles of blues and explain how regional sounds evolved and influenced mainstream American music.

His songs reflect his experiences in an African-American town and feature some of the community’s characters. Aldridge appears regularly at the annual Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival each Labor Day weekend in Rentiesville.

In August 2013, he was featured in a presentation at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City during its “History through Music” program, which examined the development and appreciation of the blues music genre from its roots in 19th century slavery to its popularity in the 20th century.

“Dr. Aldridge brings a unique blind of folk culture and academic perspective to the study of the blues,” said Dr. Ben Kracht, NSU professor of anthropology, who is coordinating the presentation. “He is equally at home in a juke joint and a college classroom.”

His presentation, which is part of NSU’s observance of Black Heritage Month, is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Cherokee and Indigenous Studies, and the Department of History.

For those seeking information about the evolution and history of the blues, parts of Martin Scorsese’s 2003 documentary film series, “The Blues,” is available on YouTube. Each of the seven episodes of the series, which aired in 2003 on PBS, explores a different stage in the development of the blues.