For booking or other Death Blues related inquiries, contact:
jon (a) rhythmplex dot com
“What happens when we thoroughly hold and understand that our lives are finite? How does this understanding of our end shape our present? How do we become more ‘present’?”
These are questions that easily get buried by routine and living within self-imposed or external confines. Death Blues is a reminder of the importance of these questions. And like Blues music, it hopefully inspires ways to celebrate and release, while connecting with one another and finding and contributing the fundamental positive elements that can exist in each moment.
About Death Blues:
The project ‘Death Blues’ utilizes a number of methods of communication, writing, recording, images, movement, video, taste, performance, and more, creating an experience that’s understood in a more personal way that develops over time.
The initial concept for Death Blues began in April of 2011 while Jon Mueller was in New Orleans. Struck by the general consensus that another Katrina-like hurricane was likely, yet no one seemed to be leaving, prompted the intense consideration of what it means to focus on one’s interests in an undetermined amount of time. That situation seemed to be a metaphor for people living in any location – celebrate what is important to you in the time that you have.
A number of publications around the Death Blues concept have been issued: A manifesto elaborating on the project idea, as well as other writings and videos discussing the concept. Musically, the project follows a linear conceptual narrative beginning with the recording Death Blues; a straightforward, repetitive raw Americana that exemplifies themes of focus and aim through hard minimalism. Here: An Advanced Study of Death Blues takes that direction further by stripping the instrumentation to merely percussion and vocals; a dense meditation, an isolation tank, a walking dream of primal, and somehow familiar, communication. If we’re encouraged to be present in the moment, to be conscious of the reality of our existence, the LP Non-fiction addresses the mysterious understanding of what reality even is by creating a reality all its own. The elaborate LP/book and finale of the project, Ensemble, combines deeply personal revelations, images, and music to express the complexity of layers that exist in each of our lives, in hopes that acknowledging the existence of those layers might help us better navigate them as we each examine our own truth.
Death Blues events are physical manifestations of some of the ideas within the concept. Involving a variety of senses to create a personal experience, the aim for the events is to construct personally interesting moments to become present within; reflecting on ideas and concerns while experiencing a sense of discovery. Concerts, dance performances, readings, visual exhibits, and taste experiences are some examples of what’s occurred within Death Blues events. These have taken place in various cities throughout the US, including Hopscotch Fest (Raleigh, NC), Alverno Presents (Milwaukee, WI), and other venues throughout New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee.
Participants to date:
The following people have contributed their time and creative input in order to make various parts of this project possible. Marielle Allschwang, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Crumbs, Martha Bayne, Betty Blexrud-Strigens, Stacy Blint, Amalinda Burich, Faith Coloccia, Mark Dawursk, Chris DeMay, Ariele Ebacher, Jaime Fennelly, William Ryan Fritch, Angelique Grandone, Sally Haldorson, Adam Heathcott, Chris Hefner, Nathaniel Heuer, Rebecca Hinsdale, Dixie Jacobs, Chris Koelle, Jessi Kolberg, Andrew Lange, Sharon Lanza, Rollie Layman, Tom Lecky, Laura Lippert, Jeff Lipton, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Andrew McKenzie, Grace McKirdy, Blyth Meier, Ann Marie Meiers, Jon Minor, Meredith Miller, Andrew Morgan, Gretchen Morganstern, Jon Mueller, Teresa Mueller, Margaret Muza, Sara Padgett-Heathcott, Ken Palme, Bruce Collin Paulson, James Plotkin, David Ravel, Alexandria Reindl, Maria Rice, Chris Rosenau, Jen Schattschneider-Roach, Aaron Schleicher, Dylan Schleicher, Molly Shanahan, Kaveh Soofi, Daniel Spack, Damian Strigens, Katie Stimson, Rory Trainor, Aaron Turner, Todd Umhoefer, Mark Waldoch, Jim Warchol, Erin Wolf, and Milan Zori.