Torchbearer: Son Little Shares His Must-Listen Blues Playlist Of Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf & More
Photo by Eddie Pearson for Okayplayer
As Son Little steps increasingly into the public eye with the long-awaited release of his self-titled LP, the inner life of the Philadelphia-bred songwriter (real name Aaron Livingston)is coming into full view as well. Son Little is the kind of record that takes you into the singer's darkest and most personal moments, blending heart-wrenching blues with modern beats--many of them sourced from drum machines. It's a novel approach to a classic form, and yet throughout the songs on Son Little, the influence of past masters looms large. These songs come shouldered with deep burdens of the soul and of society, protesting against the pains of heartache that so many of us know all too well. It's only natural that, when he sits down to spin records, Livingston is drawn to the greats of decades past.
"My early influences are more on the r&b, jazz and hip-hop side, but I guess playing the guitar and delving deeper and deeper into the instrument and the people who played it, you can’t help but run into the blues over and over again anyway. I’ve been going deeper and deeper in that direction," the songwriter told Okayplayer in a recent sit-down. Little stressed that his main influence for "the past seven or eight years" has been Howlin' Wolf, who, along with Son House and Hubert Sumlin', directly feeds his guitar inspirations. "Their voices on guitar kind of nail a feeling that make sense to me."
Since today is the home-going anniversary of blues giant Son House (who shuffled off this mortal coil on Oct. 19th, 1988) we asked S. Little for some of his favorite sides, hoping to better understand his approach (and you know, cop a few great blues looks in the process). Son went the extra mile down that dusty road, sharing his personal playlist of favorite blues tunes, including not only Son House but also the tones of Muddy Waters,Koko Taylor, The Chambers Brothers and more, a panoramic view of the varying styles within the blues genre. "I guess a lot of people think about the blues and think it’s all the same thing over and over again, like everybody’s playing the same song almost," he said. "But when you really dig into it and listen to different singers and players, you really start to see the things that set each one apart." Grab a shovel and dig in below, via 8tracks:
Son Little's Essential Blues Playlist from OKAYPLAYER on 8tracks Radio.