The King of New Orleans Blues
King was chosen by the Coen brothers to play the role of itinerant bluesman Tommy Johnson along side George Clooney in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).” Larger than life on the silver screen, Chris Thomas King, acoustic guitar in hand, captivated audiences the world over, silencing his critics. His authenticity as a folk blues artist, by any measure, proved to be undeniable. A star of stage and screen was born. New fans the world over packed sold out theaters and art centers to immerse themselves in his illuminating melodious glow. King sold millions of records and won numerous awards, superseding the success of his folk blues predecessors.
King’s major contributions to the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” phenomenon, along with its follow up album and tour, “Down From The Mountain,” has inspired a new generation of musicians such as, Hozier, Mumford & Sons, and the Lumineers. His songs “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” and “John Law Burned Down the Liqour Sto,’” to name a few, have been covered by numerous artists including legend Buddy Guy.
Thirty years after becoming the last major folk blues discovery of the 20th Century, Chris Thomas King, whose career is a coda for the folk blues revival of the ‘60s, is today, one of the most important artists in the world for having changed the way we think of blues.
In a newly written song King sings a remarkable refrain that goes, “The blues was born in, Louisiana, not Mississippi, or Texarkana,” about the ostensible fallacy that it orginated in the Delta. He then goes on to state unequivocally in the following verse, “Down in New Orleans” is “where the blues was born. You can still hear the sound of, Buddy Bolden’s horn.” Thankfully, also in New Orleans, we can still hear the enlightened art of Chris Thomas King.