Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Big Dog Of The Blues

“I’m 6’10” and no, I never played basketball”
Martin Mercer is big, hence the moniker “Big Dog Mercer”.
Big Dog was born and Raised in Antioch, Illinois. Antioch is the most unlikely spot to raise a blues man. Nestled amongst numerous lakes; Chicagoan’s discovered Antioch in the later part of the 1800’s. They flocked to the area for fishing, hunting and gambling. Antioch’s most infamous resident was none other than Al Capone who had a residence there, as he did in so many areas of Chicago. It is rumored that he owned upwards of 400 houses spread throughout the Chicago land area. I guess you got to hide all them booze dollars somehow.
One would think that Antioch’s citizenry would birth fishermen, not blues men. I did not ask if Big Dog fishes, but he practices catch and release none the less. He catches his surroundings, writes about it and then releases it in song.

Big Dog is a blues man in every sense of the word. Off the record he has told me the regular spiels that all blues men have. He bit the blues hook and the bait was the “Blues Brothers Movie”. He jumped into that proverbial boat full of blues when he saw John Lee Hooker leaning up against a wall in the aforementioned. Something about that music hooked him and just blew him away. Big Dog claims that that movie influenced him to play guitar. The genre did not matter. At the age of sixteen he was playing Rock and Roll. I asked him what sort of music category he would put his music into, He replied, “Bluesbilly, Swamp Blues & Surfbilly.” That cleared up a lot.

The way he got his first guitar was like the way so many other teenagers got things, “Momma Please……….” Momma said no so off to old dad he went. He pleaded and he begged his father for one and he finally relented. Sears filled the order, as it did for so many guitar players and blues men. I often wonder if Sears Roebuck & Co. knows how much it contributed to the American music scene.
Not only does Big Dog pick a mean left handed guitar, he can slide on one just as well. He told me a little secret, “Whatever you can pick you can slide.” Yours truly has been plugging away at slide for a better part of a year now and I tell you folks it “ain’t” easy.

He has a way of singing that is extremely reminiscent of the old school of blues players. He has a growl to his voice that demands attention and combined with an attacking slide style, his is a joy to be heard. I might be a little partial towards Big Dog because I truly love the Blues and the blues is what he does best. Big Dog also has his own musical Instrument repair Shop.

While at Big Dogs mypace page make sure you listen to the songs "Alabama Wildman', "Big Dog Blues" and "Who's That Coming." Who's that coming has an excellent slide opening and closing.

If you get a chance to see Big Dog there is no mistaking him. There is a reason ya'll why they call him BIG DOG.


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