"To me, the blues is the blueprint," says maverick guitarist and singer/songwriter Corey Harris. "You can go from that blueprint and build whatever house you want. That's what we as black Americans gave to the world: the concept of blues. But at the same time, I'm of a different generation. I didn't ever have to go to the back of a bus. If I was out on the road, I wouldn't have to camp in my car because they wouldn't let black people in the hotel. So I'm trying to represent what my tradition is, and then represent my individual self in the contemporary moment."
Harris's life and music embrace the black experience in all its dimensions. He burst onto the scene in 1995 with his debut recording Between Midnight and Day, an acclaimed exploration of acoustic, rural blues styles. At the time, few really grasped the scope and range of Harris's musical persona. He had solid blues credentials. After street-busking and taking small gigs wherever he could drive to from his home outside New Orleans, it quickly became clear that pigeonholing Harris as a blues musician was never going to work. Take for instance the fact that he had actually polished up his blues playing while living in Cameroon, studying Pidgin English on a Watson Fellowship. What's more he'd grown up listening to gospel, funk, Motown, jazz, reggae and R&B, and by the time he moved to New Orleans, he was well on his way to becoming a connoisseur of African music.