Robert Johnson, The Devil, And Me

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Rush’s pyrotechnics reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a farmer in Robinsonville. He pointed out modules, large machines that are now used to harvest cotton. “Run by a computer,” he said. “Could be run by some guy in Argentina, for all I know.” In the hundred years since Handy was captivated by the music of a man in rags, we have plugged in our guitars, used the music of protest to sell overpriced coffee beverages, and turned the family farm into agribusiness. But I know better than to get nostalgic for the days of sharecropping. The music will change with the landscape, its relics encased in roadside museums, but also living on is Big T’s class, as a 13-year-old tries to break out of the basic riff into a solo—on his acoustic guitar.