Critic’s Choice: Artist—Blindboink Parham
by Heavy Writer
(Please see the in-world release for more photographs and articles, also available on MARKETPLACE)
As a long time blues fan, I hear many incredible stories about the Blues singers who devoted their lives to this genre. Of course, some are just legends—like that of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil in a crossroads at midnight—but many are the simple truth. Living in Eastern Europe, I haven’t met any of the blues masters, except Louisiana Red that once performed in my town. So my listening exposure is reduced to MP3’s, Youtube videos, local bands, and those befriended in the virtual world of Second Life®.
One great SL friend is Mick Martin (aka BlindBoink Parham) that I met about 4-5 years ago when he had his first virtual gigs. I became his fan right away. Sitting comfortably at my desk in front of my computer screen, I shared the pixels of a virtual club with fellow citizens located thousands of miles and even on different continents away. I was transported, by the magic of the music Mick was playing, back in time to 80-90 years ago—like a Cohen Brothers movie.
The music Mick Martin aka BlindBoink Parham (www.mick-martin.com) plays isn’t new to me. He knows the rare breed classics—Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Willie McTell, Son House, Skip James, Reverend Gary Davies. But to hear their tunes reworked, without any scratch, or white noise, in an original style, but that preserves the authenticity of the songs, was like a revelation to everyone in the audience! Though I can write pages and pages about that music, I won’t waste readers’ patience doing that… Music is to be heard. So to hear a sample, simply go to true blues stories of old!
“Blues is not a curse or a blessing. It’s life!” —BlindBoink Parham, musician
Growing up in rural Appalachia, the local mountain music was passed in his family from one generation to another. This influence is evident in his unique guitar picking and style of “Country Blues.”
“My High School English teacher was a community activist. He acquired an old grist mill to use as a club for teens. Students cleaned and prepared the mill for concerts and dances. One evening, I heard special guests Skip James and his wife play. I never knew such sound was possible out of those instruments! I had not yet heard the style “Country Blues” or had an acoustic guitar—but they inspired me to learn.”
THE LEARNING PROCESS
“Like everyone,I started with with folk songs. Learning from a leading Jazz collector, Lindsley Love knew a lot about music. His father recorded us for one of his albums. Other than this, I have taught myself from records. I don`t know how to read music!”
MAKING A LIVING
When a young adult, Mick traveled around the US supporting himself financially by performing both solo and in bands. Over the years, he has shared the stage with many well-known artists including Sonny Terry and Brownie Mc Gee, Bill Monroe, Keith Whitley, Tom Rush, Noman Blake, Robin and Linda Williams, Barbra Mandrell, Vince Gill, and many others. This student got to play with his mentors!
PASSING THE TRADE
Since, Mick has pursued a career in education and taught “Acoustic Guitar” for several years at The with lessons in his unique finger-picking style. Also available, Mick’s latest CD reworks songs from blues masters and has an instructional DVD on how each song is played.
“I hope that folks will enjoy learning some of the songs and keep this tradition alive. The music is not easy to play, but the satisfaction has no words to describe!”
Currently working on his second CD, it will include some of Mick`s original songs. After 20 years playing, he declares: “Playing in SL is like having a complete band on one guitar!”
PERFORMING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD
“Playing virtually keeps my fingers, brain, and well being honed for performance. I update my skills and keep in touch with other musicians.”
Mick believes the in-world music scene mimics the real life scene in ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly.’ There are so few blues musicians in SL, Mick explains, because “playing ‘Real Blues’ is difficult. It requires the right feel and lots of practice.” Mick’s rare talent shows a glimpse into a time when music was about more than making money, finding sponsorships, acquiring fame, and all the distractions that are a part of today’s industry. Playing in SL recaptures the reason musicians love to play.
(Note: please see the in-world magazine or download Sim Street Journal June 2013 for more photographs.)
The Sim Street Journal will review one artist (or more if the inspiration hits) each month that represents an equal commitment in both virtual and real worlds.
Contributions are encouraged if they cover topics relevant to the real world readers.
Comments and opinions are also encouraged.
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© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.