The maven and her men­tor: Rory Block

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS -

Coun­try-blues maven Rory Block grew up in Green­wich Vil­lage, strolling the streets while strum­ming a guitar and jamming with men twice her age. Her fa­ther, Allan Block, ran the Allan Block San­dal Shop that be­came the cen­ter of the folk mu­sic re­vival in the early and mid-1960s. At four­teen years old, Block fell in love with the blues of the deep South, and, with her home life spin­ning into the chaos of Viet­nam-era so­cial up­heaval, she spent much of her time seek­ing out old blues gui­tarists whose work she revered. In 1965, she vis­ited Delta blues­man Skip James in the hos­pi­tal as he was un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ment. James got his start in Mis­sis­sippi in the 1930s but dis­ap­peared from the public eye un­til shortly be­fore Block met him, and died just a few years later. Now Block hon­ors his mu­sic with Hard Luck Child: A Trib­ute to Skip James, the fifth al­bum in her “men­tor” se­ries, on which she pays trib­ute to and cov­ers the songs of the mu­si­cians who in­flu­enced and inspired her. Block plays cuts from the al­bum — in­clud­ing James’ song “I’m So Glad,” pre­vi­ously cov­ered by Cream and Deep Pur­ple — at the James A. Lit­tle Theater (New Mexico School for the Deaf, 1060 Cer­ril­los Road) at 7:30 p.m. on Fri­day, Oct. 16. Tick­ets, $29 to $59, are avail­able at www.brown­pa­pertick­ets.com. Block also plays at the Out­post Per­for­mance Cen­ter, 210 Yale Blvd. SE, Al­bu­querque, at 7:30 p.m. on Satur­day, Oct. 17; visit www.brown­pa­pertick­ets.com. — Jen­nifer Levin

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