Legendary blues musician Eugene Hideaway Bridges sat down with us at Bluesfest this year to give us the lowdown on how this trip to Australia had been treating him so far! A favourite out this way, Bridges’ endearing and charming live presence brought rave reviews from punters who were able to catch him both at the festival and at his sideshows, a charm you can hear on the interview below.
Joining him on stage at Bluesfest this year was also a special guest in Kasey Chambers, and as Bridges explains, her spot in his live show was one they’ve been working towards for some time.
“We were trying to get her on the show the last time I was here, two years ago.” he explains. “She came late so we didn’t have a chance to go over the song or choose a song we were going to sing together but it turns out that “Life Has No Meaning” is one of her favourites that she was singing to her kids.”
“I basically asked her to just ‘be you’. ‘Just be you; just sing the song, sing it like you mean it, sing it like you wrote it. Just take part of the song and just fill it and have fun with it’. That’s what music does, it’s a story; just get into the story, sing it and just feel at home. She got up there and she did a wonderful job, she did a beautiful job.”
Bridges goes on to talk about the importance music (and live music) has retained through his creative career, noting the influence of many luminaries of the blues, jazz, big band and more to have come before him in how his current shows have been formed
“Music is your conversation to the world and if you’ve got something to say, then just say it!” he enthuses. “Mean what you say and say what you mean. That’s what learned from people like B.B. King, who learned from other people like Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller. You’ve got to listen to yesterday and that’s what they did.”
“That’s what we’re trying to pass on, that same teaching; so when someone looks out there and sees us play, they hear that message and they say, “Why don’t we learn things like that? How come they don’t teach us things like that?” Just play the groove, you know? Play the melody and sing the song, that’s what it always has been. When you deviate from that, sometimes you’ve got to come right back to ground zero, to where it started. Just the instrument. You are the messenger, the instrument is only [there] to accompany you to say what you need to say.”
Listen to the full interview below!