Before there was rock and roll, pop music and techno, there were the blues. For its audience, the blues is not just a musical form -- it’s an expression of feelings that resonates deep within the core of its listeners. And the Reverend Shawn Amos is keeping that feeling alive, one gig at a time.
“The blues is a kind of music that is marginalized a lot in the pop scene. Not a lot of people get to play or talk about it on major stages and in major platforms, so my mission is to bring the blues back into a mainstream conversation,” the artist told ABC News.
Amos, a Los Angeles native, has seen the music industry through many different perspectives -- as a producer, musician, singer, and songwriter. He discovered the blues through Peter Guralnick’s "Feel Like Going Home," a book that profiles masters of the genre, and has been a fan ever since, introducing the genre back into the mainstream conversation and using it to connect to his past.
His most popular album, "Thank You Shirl-ee May," was dedicated to his mother, a nightclub singer who passed away in 2003 after suffering from a schizoaffective disorder. “It was a chance to get to know this woman that I never knew before,” he said. “I got to appreciate her strength.... Discovering the life she had and the travail she had to overcome made me appreciate the life she had.”
While connecting to a piece of his heritage, Amos himself has been able to connect blues fans across all demographics. His new album, "The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You" has drawn in fans from their early 20s through their 60s.
“If you are in your 60s to 70s, you’re probably not into hip hop. If you’re in your 20s, you’re by in large not listening to classical music. Blues cuts across every age line, every economic line, every gender, every region. It’s amazing.
He added: "It’s one of the few genres that everyone just innately responds to.”