Get up, shut up and dance
Atlanta-based Mudcat refused musical labels and created its own.
There is a certain grit found in every band. Each has its resistance to authority, with an ideological view of music and an obligation to its fans. In some cases, like for the Atlanta-based band Mudcat, playing music is an integral part of American culture.
“Blues is just like America itself," guitarist and singer Danny 'Mudcat' Dudeck said. "It’s a melting pot of all these different cultures.”
Although many critics label Mudcat's sound as blues, Dudeck doesn't see the music he plays as any type of genre. True, the band does hail from the South (the birthplace of the blues) and will play at this weekend's Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival. But to Dudeck, there is more to music than labels.
“I won't put a name on it to make it easier for other people,” Dudeck said. "I think all these different genres of music are just kind of made up.”
Instead, Dudeck said the band borrows traditions and sounds from all over the world. The result is a type of music that is the same type of melting pot Dudeck as described the blues.
"It's universal," Dudeck said. "That’s why people love it on every continent.”
Dudeck also knows a thing or two about his country's passion for the blues. After playing music for 26 years, he has made numerous tour trips to Europe. He said the difference between the audiences in Europe and America are significant.
"In Europe, most of the time, people are watching very intently,” Dudeck said. “They are taking it very intellectually.”
But, he doesn't let the audience's reaction affect the way he likes to play music. He said he wants every one up dancing and having a good time.
"In France, I had to tell them that it was OK to dance," Dudeck said. "Then we became the band that moved all the tables and chairs."
In order to get people energized at Roots 'N Blues, Dudeck and the rest of his band will play with Music Maker Revue, a non-profit group that centers around finding poverty-stricken blues artists and helping them get on their feet. Dudeck is a board member of the group, and he talked highly about the organization's efforts to help poor musicians.
One story he recalled fondly was the story of Cootie Stark. Music Maker Revue found Stark playing for $50 a night at a North Carolina pizza parlor and living in a low-rent apartment.
"After a couple years (with Music Maker Revue), Cootie Stark was touring the world," Dudeck said. "He had so many important things to say -- not just music things, but things about life."
Music Maker finds musicians all over the country and gives them an outlet to perform. The organizations set at Roots 'N Blues will feature multiple musicians sharing the stage. Musicians will also get their own time in the limelight. Mudcat, in addition to its own, separate set, will lend a hand (and a guitar) during Music Maker's performance.
Dudeck also said he sees Music Maker as more than just a music preservation society.
"(The musicians are) purveyors of human history, but also human culture," he said.
No matter who is on stage with Mudcat, Dudeck admitted Columbia and Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ is one of his favorite places to play.
“This is one of my favorite gigs," Dudeck said. "It feels like a second home because they treat us so good."