INTERVIEW by talkingbouttheblues with SHEIN DIE~

THE HERITAGE OF THE BLUES ~ Interview with Shein Die by talkingbouttheblues aka TBTB blues, music, blues photography  ~


Talking Bout The Blues had the honor and pleasure to ask Shein Die, Blues lover and historian, behind the most provocative and telling images of Blues Artists, Culture, and Community a few questions about their journey with the Blues and why it’s important to preserve the rich heritage of the Blues.



Please give us a brief background on your Blues journey.


It was because I like Rock n Roll that I decided to explore its

origins.I went ‘all the way back’ and discovered Charlie Patton,

Willie Lee Brown, Son House and Mississippi John Hurt. I knew I would

have to make a pilgrimage to Clarksdale, Mississippi where the Blues

was born ~ Dockery Plantation…


Do you remember the record you heard that made you fall in love with the Blues?


Since family members would talk about seeing Bluesmen perform live, in

the 1960s NYC ~ especially Son House and also Muddy Waters, I’m

thinking it was a Muddy Waters record.


Please share your favorite Blues artist, and why?


Son House! He, in my opinion, was one of the most important persons in

the emergence of the Delta Blues, a Delta pioneer. Son House sang with

passion, soul, conviction. He influenced Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters

et al. Son House was great on slide guitar. Later on he influenced the

British Blues and of course, Rock ‘n Roll. Many of today’s musicians

hail Son House as their hero. Listen to his music: Grinnin’ In Your

Face, Death Letter Blues, Walking Blues etc. Watch him perform on You

Tube ~ he loses himself in the Blues.Son House is my favorite Blues

artist, for sure.


What inspired you to take your camera and document the Blues?


So many Authentic Bluesmen are either ignored, undervalued,

unappreciated, go undiscovered. I decided to shine a light on them and

their Gospel/Blues brilliance so that people will ask themselves ‘who

are they’, ‘why is someone taking pictures of them’, ‘should I find

out about their music’ ~ and then, will WANT to buy their music, BOOK

them into venues, INTERVIEW them, RECORD them, KNOW them while these

Living Legends, these Treasures are still with us. I will paraphrase a

friend: ‘very few invest time, compassion, money, understanding and

what it takes to develop unbiased PROFESSIONAL relationships with

middle-aged and elderly Black Musicians, who only want to present

their music to the world in their own way’. I am hoping that by

introducing these Bluesmen through my photographs, more WILL want to

know them and Develop these relationships.


I’m sure you you caught a lot of candid moments, please share one of

the most memorable.


I actually ask before I shoot. However, Cadillac John Nolden’s 87th

Birthday Celebration at Red’s Blues Lounge ( a Juke Joint ~ ‘the’ JUKE

in Clarksdale ) was so joyful ..with the Cornlickers and ‘Big A’

Sherrod backing him.. just having a blast,losing themselves in the

music, that I think I caught them candidly.


Are you a Blues Musician, and if you haven’t, will you be recording any music?


I play guitar for my own enjoyment, for my friends and family. Nope,

will not be recording any music =) ~ but thanks for asking.


Do you play out?


I do. The time that sticks with me is when I was invited to Avalon, MS

(home of Mississippi John Hurt)population 20 ~ to jam with a

musician/historian on the porch of his home. This home was the Train

Depot at the time of John Hurt .. tracks running in front… I just

knew that Mississippi John Hurt was a pile driver in that area .. so

much history.. and this kind, talented, generous man ~ Art Browning ~

had once played with the son of Mr. Hurt .. ‘Man’ Hurt .. both Art and

Man were born in Avalon ~ all three gone now, but never forgotten.


You capture a big portion of American History through your photos of

Blues artists, culture and community. What drives that passion?


It’s a shame that in the last few decades we have lost so many of the

greats, juke joints are disappearing, Bluesmen go unheralded,

buildings are lost to time. My hope is that my photographs inspire

others to broaden their exposure to Blues Music and Culture. Now is

the time to learn about the roots of Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues,

Soul. Now is the time to value the music, the musicians, their

stories. Now is the time to learn about our American past and open our

eyes to all The Blues has given to us. I am preserving the likenesses

of those who play and give – and have given – their best years to the



Is it important to you to preserve The Heritage of the Blues? Why?


Our country was built on the backs of those who were denigrated, abused. I document the Blues to open peoples eyes to their vast contributions.I photograph where they lived, how they lived. It is also through my photography I get to show the names and faces of Bluesmen whom many have not heard of. My hope is that those who view my pictures will then want to learn about them, be inspired by them, get to know their music .. and support them.


As beautiful as your photos are, do you see yourself capturing the

Blues via video?


nope ~ not my ‘thing’ =)


Please share why you choose to be mysterious and stay in the shadows of Blues?


I follow in the footsteps of the Masked Marvel, of the Mississippi

Marvel. My private life is my own. I want my Blues photographs to take

‘center stage’ ~ I want the focus on the Bluesmen and Blues sites

which are rapidly disappearing .. They belong in the forefront, not



Do you see any of your photographs being placed in any Blues Museums

in the future?


Sure =) .. my work has appeared in the Mississippi Museum of Art’s

online exhibition ‘True Color in Black and White’. Several of my Blues portraits hang in hotels in Clarksdale Mississippi ~ It would also be

cool to have a few of my photographs framed and hanging in the Delta

Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS (hint hint ).


When SheinDie is not photographing, what do you do for fun?


I ride my Harley, take my jet ski out, water ski, wakeboard, play

tennis, draw and paint.


What’s your most memorable Blues Festival?


There were actually two ~ both in year 2011. During the Juke Joint

Festival and Cat Head Mini-Fest in Clarksdale, I got to spend time

with, and interview David HONEYBOY Edwards …He is the last of the

Original Delta Bluesmen. It blew me away that this 90+ year old

Bluesman had a ‘steel trap’ of a memory, sharp, detail oriented,

photographic memory … what a funny, intelligent, talented, and

interesting lively storyteller. His daddy taught him to read music, he

played in Spanish and Standard ~ never in open tuning ~ he was healthy

but ~ bad knees from climbing stairs ~ …. I was honored and

overjoyed to be with him and meet his lifelong friend/music

partner/manager, Michael Frank…Honeyboy passed 4 months later and is

Terribly Missed by all. The second festival was King Biscuit Blues and

Gospel Festival, Helena Ar ~ I got to meet Hubert Sumlin and spent a

bit of time chatting, laughing ..there were just three of us in the

room ..suddenly an old friend from his younger days walked in .. what

a surprise! … they hugged, talked and then … broke out into

song!!! This was just before Hubert was getting ready to play on the

Main Stage with ‘the Bobs’ ~ I will never forget him doing ‘Sitting On

Top Of The World’ … Hubert passed 2 months later. Always missed,

Never Forgotten.


What’s in the future for Shein Die?


hahaha … more of the same.

great interview, with a great Person! Check Shein Die’s Link and photo’s

ALL photographs are copyright (c) 2011-2014 Shein Die ALL





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