Zac Harmon lives in fear that future music historians might believe that Eric Clapton invented the blues.
And while he’s grateful to every artist who’s helped raise the genre’s profile, he wants to ensure that its real creators are never forgotten.
Harmon tells the Sioux City Journal: “Even though Clapton and all the other Brits in the 60s did a whole lot to enhance the blues, they were only fans. If we don’t claim what’s ours, somebody else will.”
He believes that marketing attitudes are partly to blame for obscuring the musical founding fathers.
“We are a society that lives for the new catchphrase,” he says. “Even though it’s something not really all that different, we create something ‘new’ with it to sell it. We end up segmenting it so much that the root of it all is kind of forgotten.”
He argues: “Let’s take country music for an example – every time country music had a child, the child’s last name was ‘country.’ It stayed within the country family.
“Any time blues had a child, it got a different last name.”
But Harmon remains optimistic about the future of the genre, saying it’ll age like a good bottle of wine. “It will be like taking it out of the cellar in 2010, 2030 or 2050. Is it going to taste the same? No – but it will take on different qualities as it ages.”
Harmon is currently touring the US.