Says he â€œainâ€™t got the blues no moreâ€
Local blues musician Artis Bluegill will sleep easier tonight. Thereâ€™s no hellhound on his trail. Thereâ€™s no more a-rambling, no more laughing to keep from crying, and no more bad luck with wine, women and song.
Artis Bluegill has found inner peace, and peace means he doesnâ€™t have the blues anymore.
â€œJust amazing,â€ says the 83-year-old harmonica master. â€œI woke up this morning, I said I woke up this morning and the blues ran away, oh yeah.â€ His daughter, Lola Bluegill, explains: â€œWe were watching Discovery Channel late one night, and it dawned on me that Dad didnâ€™t have the blues, he actually had acute depression, and we took it from there.â€
Artis, or Papa Bear, as heâ€™s known in blues circles, was reluctant to start treatment, though, and the family had to resort to involuntary commitment to get Artis into therapy. The intervention took place at a high-profile gig at the Olâ€™ Manâ€™s Hideout blues club in downtown Green Lake. The crowd cheered loudly when four white-coated hospital workers came onstage to grab Artis Bluegill, thinking it was a spoof of James Brownâ€™s famous set-closing act. But their perceptions changed quickly as Bluegill dashed off the stage and through the exit, shouting â€œThe devilâ€™s coming for me! The devilâ€™s coming for me!â€
Dealing with a bluesmanâ€™s emotional disorder isnâ€™t that simple, however. â€œBluesmen talk in metaphors that non-bluesmen donâ€™t always get,â€ said Dr. Marla Little. â€œI mean, youâ€™re not going to find â€˜a-shakinâ€™ and a-stompinâ€™ in the list of symptoms for depression. Itâ€™s not in there. I know, cause I checked four times. Stupid college, make me take an intern from the school of medicine? Iâ€™ll make â€˜em pay. Iâ€™ll slip lithium in their water cooler.â€
â€œI was standing at the crossroads,â€ says Papa Bear, â€œbut I made it back from being down in the dumps.â€ He says therapy and a support group helped reawaken him to a â€œblues-less life,â€ as Dr. Little described it. â€œHard luck and trouble ainâ€™t my only friends anymore. I got lots of human friends now- Jerry, Dale, Merry and that guy who keeps chewing on the door frame.â€
Fans of Bluegillâ€™s music should be happy to hear that Papa Bear isnâ€™t giving up his music, even with this drastic life change. Instead of the traditional Mississippi Delta blues heâ€™s played for all of his 60-plus year career, Bluegill plans on making motivational, â€œfeel-goodâ€ music that challenges those with the blues to get out of their funk. Currently working in the studio with New Age composer/producer Flanni, Bluegill says heâ€™ll name his next record â€œJust Cheer Up Already!â€
â€œLifeâ€™s been hard on me,â€ says Bluegill. â€œIâ€™ve been tossin and turning and shakin and burnin my whole life. But now I ainâ€™t playing with fire no more, no sir. Let me take you down to my next track, Jack, itâ€™s called â€˜Nobody Gives a Damn About You As It Is.â€™â€ He sings: â€œNobody cares if youâ€™re crying/so donâ€™t suppose weâ€™ll give you bliss/now that I think about it/nobody gives a damn about you as it is.â€
Artis Bluegillâ€™s next record is slated for release in the fall, with a promotional tour sponsored by Queasland Petrochemical, the company that produces the mood-altering drugs Bluegillâ€™s been prescribed.