As we move on into the 21st century, our connection to the blues is getting more and more tenuous. Blues, of course, will never die—as long as there’s a smoky club, barbecue, and the need to express the joys and pains of being alive, there will be the blues—but every passing year removes us from the roots of blues a little bit more, and the tissue that connects us to the original purveyors of this uniquely American genre gets more and more loose.
We, simply, don’t have many old school bluesmen left standing. History is lost a little more with every year, and so it’s important that we document what we have to remind us of what we were as we continue moving forward into a new generation of blues. A new documentary, currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter, is looking to document the life and struggles of legendary bluesman Frank Bey.
Frank Bey: Ask Me How I Feel, whose crowdfunding campaign runs through October 25, hopes to shed light on the life and career of Bey, whose rise in the 70s was derailed thanks to an infamous deal with James Brown gone wrong. He languished in obscurity until the 90s, when he made his auspicious comeback and has, since, garnered acclaim with awards nominations and a series of well-received albums, including this year’s Back in Business.
The film, helmed by director Marie Hinson, has brought together a uniquely diverse crew (Hinson, herself, is transgender) to forge a grassroots, independent filmmaking venture that seeks to shed some light not just on Bey but on the roots of blues and soul. Promising a mix of biography, music history, and performance, Ask Me How I Feel hopes to strengthen the connection between community and art as well as pay homage to the music and life of Bey and the history of blues.
With just nine days left in the Kickstarter campaign, they’re still about $15,000 away from meeting their $25,000 goal to complete the film. Those may sound like long odds, but the blues is nothing without the overcoming of odds. Filming itself is completed, but they still need a bit more to ensure they have the funds needed for post-production and editing. Packages for funding range from $1 to $10,000 and include a variety of perks. Every donation, however, includes a year subscription to Blues Music Magazine, a must read for any fan of the blues.
This is a unique opportunity to be a part of the documenting of history and to ensure that the life and music of Bey—and the blues—continues to reach audiences. With a little over a week left to make to the final goal, hopefully we’ll see this vision of the blues come to fruition.
Check out and donate to the Kickstarter campaign here.
To read more about the film click here.