Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Spirit of Jesus....

A few years ago I shared a bill with Daniel "Slick" Ballinger. At the time he was a real "up and comer" on the Blues circuit. He had just signed with Oh Boy records and his debut CD was coming out. He was touring with Blind Mississippi Morris and "lighting 'em up" at festivals across the nation. When I met him, I was struck by what a quiet, shy, polite kid he was.....until he got a hot mic in front of him. Then the spirit "took over" and he became a real Blues Dynamo.

His set was electric, as he channeled the spirit of the blues. As he was called back for an encore....he channeled the Holy Spirit. I wasn't surprised, not long after that, to hear he walked away from his Blues career, and was dedicating his life to the Lord. He traded the Blues clubs and juke joints for pulpits, but he still did his thing with his 335, and the spirit still took control of him.

The other day, a friend sent me a video of him "preaching" at a Knoxville, TN area church. Slick....now known simply as Daniel takes the stage about 40 minutes in. The ironic thing is that it wasn't that much different from his Blues shows. This brings to mind the clash of the sacred and the profane in Blues, and in life. Although Slick was never profane, in any sense of the word, he was always in touch with the Spirit. He simply felt moved to fully give in to the Spirit of Jesus, as opposed to "the spirit" of Jesus AND the blues, and he channels that spirit as well as anyone I've ever heard.

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