Due to open in 2014, the National Blues Museum is set to become a must-visit destination for both St. Louis residents and out-of-town visitors. Located on the recently revitalized Washington Avenue downtown, the museum will present the history of blues, which it praises as the "foundation of all modern American music."
But the National Blues Museum organizers aren't content to wait until next year, they're already busy conducting business. The museum is presenting a series of events that are being hosted by their future neighbors, the beautifully renovated Central Library downtown.
Tonight the library presents guest speaker Dr. Lauren Onkey, the Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. She's in town to speak on Bruce Springsteen and his connection with soul music.
Springsteen has long been known as one of the greatest stadium stars in the world, with stamina only rivaled by Prince and massive charisma in comparison to our own Chuck Berry. In fact, Springsteen is a prominent Berry fan, performing Berry's songs throughout his entire career. (Including as lately as just last month.) It is this kind of appreciation and allegiance that Dr. Onkey will explore during her presentation.
Every audience member who has experienced (or just endured) one of Springsteen's legendarily long concerts knows that the Boss takes time during every 4-hour-long show to delve into a wide-ranging stable of covers. If you're at a Bruce show, like it or not, you're going to get an education in older music.
At Springsteen's 2008 St. Louis concert, he kicked off the night with a cover of the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me." (Featuring a saxophone solo from The Big Man, himself, Clarence Clemons.) He also played "Twist and Shout," a Johnny Rivers cover ("Mountain of Love") and Berry's "Little Queenie." But he'll sneak in an influence whenever he can, and he also played a bit of Buddy Holly during the segue between "Because the Night" and "She's the One."
Springsteen is respectful of the music that has inspired him, honoring it by gifting it to the tens of thousands in his audience every night he performs. But it is more than his choice of covers that will be discussed by Dr. Onkey-- the event also promises to dig deeper into his musical subtleties and "explore the important and often unrecognized role soul music has played in Springsteen's sound and performance."
Event information: "You Can't Get There by Yourself: Bruce Springsteen's Soul Roots" Guest Speaker: Dr. Lauren Onkey, PhD Central Library Auditorium 1301 Olive Street 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public Facebook event page