The Pain & Genius of Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan

“Sweet Dreams, released in 1972, remains the finest moment in the career of the man who was damned with the accolade ‘the guitarist’s guitarist’. Lauded by the likes of Jeff Beck, Gary Moore (who covered the blues-rock thriller ‘The Messiah Will Come Again’) and, more recently, Joe Bonamassa, Buchanan never attained any real fame or fortune during his lifetime. These days he’s as infamous for apparently turning down an offer to join the Rolling Stones and his mysterious death in a Virginia jail cell in 1988 as he is for his music. Yet Buchanan’s legacy as a guitarist punches way above that of many of the rock stars who held him in such high regard.”—(Source) LouderSound.com

NVA: Like a wordless ‘Whiter Shade of Pale” it is anthemic, majestic and hauntingly beautiful. We listened to it endlessly one winter when I first became a kitchen rat in the Fall and Winter of 1972. We’d be drunk on a mix of beer, tequila, weed and Roy Buchanan’s penetrating exorcism of his ‘to the bone’ pain. Therein lies the magic of music. For me I find it especially within the musical genre of ‘the blues’. It is through an artist expressing their pain and conflict musically that we as listeners can find a release that is like no other.

The great Oliver Sachs put it this way, “Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.”
― Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

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