If you’ve ever doubted the power of social media on getting the word out, then consider the case of Mississippi Gabe Carter. This Chicago-based blues and gospel musician recently returned to Facebook after an extended hiatus and now his page is filled with fan-made videos, photos and links to his CD Baby site.
Along with the posts come the “welcome backs” and accolades from places as far away as the Israel and the UK who are quick to sing Carter’s praises. One fan posted that Carter “ is one of the best modern bluesmen out there. His style is smooth, groovy (and) authentic.’”
With a voice that has been likened to the late Junior Kimbrough, Carter can be seen as a standard-bearer for the next generation of bluesmen. Yet, he once conceded that he “does not know how much of the music will stick” with future generations
Indeed, Carter comes across as an old soul steeped in a particular brand of Bentonia, Mississippi blues made famous by Jack Owens. But, the tip-off to Carter’s relatively young age is the fact that he discovered this particular blues style after renting a video in the library.
Carter might have picked up a video and taken up a guitar during the “Me Decade” but the beauty of Bentonia- blues is its connection to the front-porch style of play that once predominated in Mississippi. From his mesmerizing guitar licks to impassioned song lyrics, Carter is quick to acknowledge his connection to the blues forefathers when he said, “lots of the same ideas and styles have been passed down and reinvented.” He added that, “no one in blues really owns what they do.”
While that might be true, Carter has certainly owned the stages where he has played— whether it’s Chicago or the world. One of the best videos posted shows him “busking” and belting out a impassioned “God’s Power” in the Jackson Red Line station. Carter said he has recently been performing around Randolph and Michigan Avenues.
He is also slated to play on the Garden Stage at the 11th Annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts on September 13th.
In addition to these pop up performances and outdoor festivals, Carter has upcoming gigs everywhere from Horse Thief Hollow Brewery on August 29th to the House of Blues Back Porch Stage on September 2nd. Both these venues work well with his down- home style of play.
The relatively new Horse Thief Brewery is located in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood and named after the horse thieves that smuggled in stolen equines around Longwood Drive and 108th Street. The brewery also specializes in southern-style delicacies like gumbo, crab cakes and slow smoked barbecue.
Although Carter is well-suited for southern-themed breweries and back porch stages, his riveting live performance was recently captured at the Ram Restaurant in rollicking Rosemont. With its bright lights, rowdy bars and super-sized shopping malls, it seems an unlikely place for blues-based praise and worship but Carter delivers on his soon-to-be released “Live in Rosemont” CD.
While all of his previous CDs have been extremely well-received, “Live in Rosemont” captures the power of a live performance that’s been honed on Chicago’s street corners and cultivated on the world stage. From the opening notes of “In Jesus’ Name” to the closing track of “By My Savior’s Side,” Carter’s hypnotic guitar lyrics and strong vocals showcase gospel/blues music in its purest form.
Until the CD drops, look for Mississippi Gabe Carter to show up everywhere from breweries in Beverly, blues clubs in the Loop and perhaps even a street or subway near you. Plus, you can check out this video to get a true sense of down-home blues gospel based right here in the great city of Chicago.
Mississippi Gabe will also be performing in Wrigleyville on Saturday, August 22nd at the Trace at 3714 N. Clark. Swing in after the Cubs game and catch some blues by the old ballpark.