NPMS students learn the history of blues music

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Blues music echoed through the halls of Northport Middle School on Dec. 17 as eighth graders welcomed Northport native, Toby Walker, to their classroom for a lesson on musical and African American history. 

As part of his “Blues in the Schools” program, Mr. Walker walked the students through a slide show depicting the Mississippi blues musicians, including Jack Owens that Mr. Walker not only took guitar lessons from, but heard stories about the Great Migration and Jim Crow South.  

Much of the music of the time, such as “Hard Times here and Everywhere I Go” and “It should’ve been me,” was focused around what life was like for African Americans and why they would eventually move north. 

Mr. Walker played music for the students on his steel guitar, which emulates the sounds of an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and an electric diddley bow – a single stringed instrument, which influenced the development of the blues sound.