As with all things that take form, there needs to be a motivator to inspire and create the concept. For the Valencia Blues Society that mover and shaker is Javier Tijuana.
Based in Valencia city, this 46 year old blues guitarist and leader of his own group - namely the Tijuana Blue band is a big supporter and aficionado of the blues.
I was surprised to find a photo of Javier together with the legendary guitarist Anson Funderburgh. Javier was gifting Anson with a Valencia Blues Society tshirt and he looks very proud of himself. Anson was one of the invited featured performers at the BluesCazorla festival down in Jaen province.
His debut recording / CD - "Thunderbird Motel" boasts 10 tracks and showcases Javier's taste in blues. I have only heard bits of it but it sounds pretty solid. More on that another time.
In this interview, I was keen to find the root of Javier's desire to launch the Valencia Blues Society and give Valencia a blues mark on the global blues map. But also, to reach into the song writing side of Tijuana and get down deep into his blues-making process. What I discovered is shared in the interview. Great reading!
|Anson Funderburgh with Javier|
CBBLUES: Why did you start the Valencia Blues Society?
JAVIER; I thought our city needed an association who could bring in and host musicians and bands that perhaps promoters or bar owners would not seem so interested in.
It was a way to educate the general public about the Blues as a form of art with a large and rich tradition in styles along its evolution. And, to help to develop a blues scene in our city and be aware that other blues acts are active in our city.
CBBLUES: Are you the president? Is there a committee?
JAVIER; Yes I am. The committee is basically, the president, treasurer and secretary. Also we decide about the different issues along with the associates in our meetings.
CBBLUES: What do you hope to accomplish?
JAVIER; Just keep the Blues alive and kickin´ in our city.
CBBLUES: The Valencia blues players what we have met and hear via our social events are very much rooted in the Chicago and Delta styles - but you have chosen to go the Texas blues root? Why?
JAVIER; I really think I dedicate my learning as much into Mississippi Delta or 50´s Chicago Blues as East Coast Blues, West Coast Jump or Texas Blues and all the styles in between.
The instrument of choice in some way determines your choice of references musically and your aural territory. For example - if someone is into harp playing, obviously Texas or Mississippi is not the name you think of in the first place, according to the work that people like John Lee Williamson, Little Walter, Sonny Boy, Big Walter Horton or many others did in Chicago.
Javier outside the famous blues club in Texas - Antone's
T other thing is that by osmosis some kind of sounds and licks get into your system and no matter how much you scratch, it never goes away. Probably the things you were attracted to and learn in the first place are the most deeply rooted or imprinted.CBBLUES: I only heard the clips from your CD but it sounds like a great mix of
blues, tex-mex and texas swing. Are the songs originals? If so - did
you pen them?
JAVIER; Out of 10 songs, 8 are originals written by myself or co-written, and the other two are covers by R&B great Hank Ballard and the 60´s Dallas band The Nightcaps. I think covers are interesting for the listener to get some kind of reference about where are we coming from.CBBLUES: Tell me about your song writing process?
JAVIER; I really think that my songs are in some sort of way an answer to other songs that knock me out, or my interpretation of different rhythms or grooves that move me when I listen to them. For example, I hear something that inspires me to change some melody, or chord or add something, or take out something, and then it evolves to a song that became something different, melodically and harmonically.
But for me is the same in the deep end. Nothing comes out of nothing. Not in may case.CBBLUES: What are your themes?
JAVIER; Maybe I am restricted to the clichés of the genre, the “shit happens” school of philosophy, you know: Existentialism, Hyperrealism, Hedonism and post-Marxism. In other words: I just have to put some syllables on top of the music.
I am not interested so much in the content of the lyrics but in the aural spectre of the music.
Javier in the deep south of Mississippi
Some can say different or wiser or prettier than any other but the themes are the same we breath and eat everyday, you can´t escape from the same struggles since we woke up in this world, the fundamental emotions are the same at 8 years old or at 68, no matter how you say it.
CBBLUES: Why are you drawn to the blues?
JAVIER; I think there is some kind of truth in that music that other genres lack of or I don´t see it.
CBBLUES: Thank you for this interview.