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Formal Music Training Meets Deep Rooted Love For The Blues In Guitarist Scott Ainslie

Bob Marquart
Flickr - Creative Commons
Scott Ainslie performs at the 18th annual Western Maryland Blues Fest Family Blues Picnic in Hagerstown's City Park.
"Blessed with an expressive baritone and nimble fingers... Ainslie is a master of American acoustic Blues... he is also among the most highly regarded Blues historians, a veritable walking encyclopedia of Blues and Jazz."

- Dan Bolles, SoundBites

While it’s not unknown for Blues artists to have a degree in music, it isn’t common.

Before a 1967 performance by Jack Johnson influenced Scott Ainslie to dedicate himself to the Blues, he was already a formally trained musician. With his college education and many academic honors he brings a depth of knowledge that makes him much in demand as a teacher of the Blues and the history of the Blues.

Ainslie’s own music is strongly influenced by the original country blues, including the Delta, Ragtime and Piedmont traditions. Despite being white, his sound is deeply rooted in African traditions as well.

Ainslie does connect us to the real heart of the Blues through his playing, but it is as a teacher and protagonist that he truly serves the cause of keeping the Blues alive. He is a Phi Beta Kappa, an honors graduate of Washington & Lee University. He was also a leader in the North Carolina Visiting Artist Program including serving on its state board from 1988-1990.

In 2000, he was a University of North Carolina Public Fellow, and has received numerous other awards and grants including a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts.

Scott can hold an audience while he teaches them about the music he loves, mixing information and Blues performance in a truly rewarding experience.

Given that Scott Ainslie is an outspoken Civil Rights campaigner, it is no surprise that he has sought out masters of the Blues of different sides of the color lines to teach him and help expand his cultural horizons. He has also written a major work on one of the more important Blues innovators, Robert Johnson, At the Crossroads.

Given his broad knowledge, it should come s no surprise that a Scott Ainslie concert is an education, but it is also a heartwarming delight. Warm your heart this week when Scott Ainslie will be one of the artists on The Nine O’clock Blues.

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