Heralded as “a living legend” by Berkeley Express, “a national treasure” by Guitar Extra, and “one of the greatest living blues artists” by Blues Revenue, Rory Block is committed to preserving Delta blues and bringing it to life. Known for her unique slide guitar style, Block is an award-winning blues artist whose performance marks the end of the Winter Blues Festival.
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Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora “Rory” Block grew up in Manhattan in a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. Block was playing guitar by age 10, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park.
During these years, her life was touched—and profoundly changed—by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnson’s mentor. She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb firsthand his technique and his creativity.
In the early ’8os, Block threw herself headlong into an ambitious touring schedule that helped hone her technical and vocal skills to a razor’s edge, and at the same time nurture a distinctive voice as a songwriter. In the ’90s, her visibility overseas increased dramatically when Best Blues and Originals went gold in parts of Europe. She brought home Blues Music Awards four years in a row—two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. In 1997 she won the Blues Music Award for The Lady and Mr. Johnson, a tribute to Robert Johnson, taking home Acoustic Album of the Year.
Today, after more than twenty highly acclaimed releases and five Blues Music Awards, Block is at the absolute height of her creative powers, bringing a world full of life lessons to bear on what she calls “a total celebration of my beloved instrument and best friend, the guitar.” Her newest project, titled The Mentor Series, is a growing collection of tribute albums to the blues masters she knew in person.
*Gardens Preferred & Gardens Premium Member Discount
Gardens Preferred and Gardens Premium Members receive up to 15% off 2017–2018 Performance Series tickets and receive access to the Member Pre-sale. If you are eligible, your discount code was provided to you via e-mail. Use the discount code to unlock your Membership pricing.