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How Blue Can You Get? Urban Mythmaking and the Blues in Edmonton, Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Farkash, Craig E
  • The blues is a genre of music that is rich in storytelling. Growing out of an oral tradition that has spanned generations, its influence on popular music today is undeniable. Many will have some vague recollection of some of these stories—whether related to blues figures, cities, regions, or to moments in time these are stories shared by the entire blues community, and through them, people have become familiar with the mythical importance of places such as Chicago or the Mississippi Delta to blues music. But how does a system of myth-making work in regions that do not have the luxury of being at a blues crossroads? Using the Edmonton blues scene as a case study, this thesis examines some of the stories told by people who have long called Edmonton their home and who have contributed to the mythologization of the local blues scene and turned it into an unlikely home for the blues. By employing qualitative research methodologies, such as participant observation and in-depth interviews, this study aims to understand the role that mythmaking has played in strengthening the Edmonton blues scene. To demonstrate this, the thesis first introduces the history of the Edmonton blues scene and, more generally, the city itself. It then looks at how myth has been written about by other anthropologists and popular music researchers. Finally, it shares some of the stories of important venues in Edmonton and important legends of the Edmonton scene before attempting to understand how these myths and stories have helped to carve out a space for Edmonton in the larger blues world.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-06cr-df16
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.