Interview – The Blue and Gold

The Blue And Gold is a new musical collaboration between Juno nominated and WCMA Blues ‘Artist Of The Year’ Ndidi O and folk-roots guitarist/banjo player Trish Klein (The Be Good Tanyas, Frazey Ford, Po’ Girl) which celebrates the musical artistry and legacy of pioneering female blues musicians.

They have recently unveiled the first single, “Honey In The Rock” from their upcoming self-titled debut album, which is set for release on April 29, 2022. The single is a reinterpretation of Blind Mamie Forehand’s delicate gospel blues masterpiece.

“Mamie Forehand, AKA Blind Mamie Forehand, was born blind in 1895, Alabama,” says Trish Klein. “She is one of the earliest known professional female country blues and gospel singers. Accompanied by her husband, guitarist A.C. Forehand (who was also blind), Mamie Forehand was an active singer of spirituals on the streets of Memphis in the 1920s performing a genre now referred to as street corner or storefront gospel. We are thrilled to be releasing our homage to her classic 1927 recording, ‘Honey in the Rock’“. 

The album is a musical homage to the profound influence of black female artists on 20th-century country/blues traditions and indeed on the evolution of all modern music. The album contains 11 songs recorded with authenticity, soulfulness, and grit, including reinterpretations of the works of pioneering female artists Memphis Minnie, Lottie Kimbrough, Mamie Forehand, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and others, as well as one song by the legendary Indigenous songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Listen to “Honey in the Rock” below, and find out more about The Blue And Gold via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello, I’m Trish Klein. I’m a folk-roots guitarist/banjo player (The Be Good Tanyas, Frazey Ford, Po’ Girl) and one half of The Blue and Gold, a musical collaboration with Juno nominated musician Ndidi O, that celebrates the musical artistry and legacy of pioneering female blues musicians.

How did you come up with the name “The Blue And Gold” for your project?

Blue is for The Blues. The foundation roots of modern music. Everything leads back to the Blues. Joy, pain, suffering, the truth, you can find it all in the Blues. Gold, because gold is eternal, its beauty and lustre never fades, never degrades. Gold is magic.

You have just released your new single, “Honey In The Rock”, what can you tell us about the track?

This song is a rendition based on Blind Mamie Forehand’s 1927 recording. “Mamie Forehand, AKA Blind Mamie Forehand, was born blind in 1895, Alabama, she is one of the earliest known professional female Blues and gospel singers. This is one of the first songs we decided to cover. It’s just an incredibly lyrical and melodic song, with a timeless message.

You will be releasing your debut album on April 29, 2022, tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the album.

Ndidi and I had been talking about working on a blues project together for several years, ever since we first met and became friends while living in Paris. Then during the long pandemic winter of 2020, we began a remote recording/research project exploring the lives and music of under-recognized female blues artists. The project really gave us both a bit of joy and inspiration during some pretty dark times. The resulting album is a musical homage to the profound influence of Black female artists on 20th-century country/blues traditions and on the evolution on all modern music. It’s 11 songs recorded with authenticity, soulfulness, and grit, including reinterpretations of the works of pioneering female artists Memphis Minnie, Lottie Kimborough, Victoria Spivey, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and others, as well as one song by the legendary Indigenous songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

What’s next for you in 2022?

We are excited to perform at several festivals across Canada this summer, some US shows, as well as planning to tour Ireland in the fall.

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