Rory Block Interview

(Originally aired on March 24, 2011)

As a young teenager, Block discovered acoustic blues while living in New York City. Her passion for music led her to such blues masters as Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt and Mississippi Fred McDowell, many of whom shared their musical ideas with her. Absorbing techniques and sounds from these giants, Block drew on these personal encounters to find her own powerful voice as a slide guitarist, writer and singer.

Over the years, Block has performed or recorded with Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Taj Mahal, Mark Knopfler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jorma Kaukonen, David Lindley, Keb' Mo' and Michael Hedges. Block has released more than 20 albums and won five Blues Music Awards and continues to tour and record, spreading the vital sound of acoustic blues to audiences across Europe and North America.

Block's new album is Shake 'Em On Down—A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell. In our exclusive interview, she discusses recording this collection of originals and McDowell songs, talks about her influences, and describes meeting Mississippi Fred McDowell. During our feature, we'll hear tracks from Shake 'Em On Down.