Rory Block – Crossroad Blues
Aurora “Rory” Block (born November 6, 1949, Princeton, New Jersey, United States) is an American female blues guitarist and singer, a notable exponent of the country blues style.
Aurora Block was born in Princeton and grew up in Manhattan. Her father, Allan Block, ran a sandal shop in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, and the influence of the Greenwich Village folk music scene, such as Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, and John Sebastian, tempted Block to study classical guitar. At the age of 14, she met guitarist Stefan Grossman, who introduced her to the music of Mississippi Delta blues guitarists. Block began listening to old albums, transcribing them, and learning to play the songs. At age 15, she left home to seek out the remaining blues giants, such as Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Son House, and hone her craft in the traditional manner of blues musicians;then she traveled to Berkeley, California where she played in clubs and coffeehouses.
After retiring temporarily to raise a family, Block returned to the music industry in the 1970s with middling success until signing with Rounder Records in 1981, who encouraged her to return to her love for the classical blues form. Since then she has carved out her own niche, releasing numerous critically acclaimed albums of original and traditional songs, including many Robert Johnson covers, such as “Terraplane Blues” and “Come on in My Kitchen”. Block has won five W. C. Handy Awards, two for “Traditional Blues Female Artist” (1997, 1998) and three for “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year” (1996, 1999, 2007). She also won NAIRD awards for “Best Adult Contemporary Album of the Year” in 1994 for Angel of Mercy and again in 1997 for Tornado.
Angel of Mercy, Turning Point, and Tornado included mostly original compositions. However, Mama’s Blues, Ain’t I A Woman and When A Woman Gets The Blues featured songs written by Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Lottie Beaman, and Mattie Delaney.
In 2010, Block released her autobiography in .pdf format and a limited print run titled When A Woman Gets The Blues.
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