He Sold his Soul to the Devil

December 11, 2018

It was Friday, December 7th and we were headed to Baton Rouge for a show at The Dyson House Listening Room. My son Eric Erdman was playing as opening act for Chris Thomas King. 


I bet you remember Chris Thomas King in the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”. He was the blues singer who had sold his soul to the devil. Chris is an actor, a musician and a singer. He is also a Grammy Award winner.


It was a sold out show and they were trying to squeeze in some that begged for a spot somewhere so they could be apart of this evening. The owner was able to work in a few more chairs here and there to appease them.


Eric began the show and he stuck close to his bluesiest tunes, only veering away as audience members called out requests i.e. “Bird on A Powerline”, “Horizon”… He livened up the crowd by doing his song “Why”, the audience clapped to the rhythm of this song for the entire tune. 


The crowd loved him as shown by their uproarious applause and the standing ovation when he completed his part of the show.


Moments later Chris Thomas King took the stage. Wearing his signature top hat and spiffy attire including highly polished shoes. Chris was in his element. He is from Louisiana, a place near Baton Rouge. He is now based in New Orleans. 


Chris plays guitar. He also plays harmonica, a stomp drum and (though he did not play one that night) he also plays piano. Occasionally he would say , “I wrote this one on my piano but converted it to fit the guitar, I hope you like it.”


Chris played some of his originals, a couple of cover songs. My favorite was when he played “Down by the River” from the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”.  The audience joined in and came alive for that song.


Chris sang his song, “Someone like you”, which he usually does on his piano. This is a heart wrenching song with the story of his ex-girlfriend going on with her life and marrying. Also about her now having a child. In the lyrics he hopes to find “someone like you”. He begs “don’t forget me.”


He played “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”. It has a deep smokey sound. This is a song he did in the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”. 


He played “Baptized in Dirty Water”…its a slow sorrowful song that makes you feel and makes you think “When the levees broke now baby, the dirty water came rushing in. When the levees broke now baby, dirty water come rushing in. They washed away my happy home baby…I hope they washed away my sins.”


 I also enjoyed “John Law burned down the liquor Store”.  It went like this…”John Law burned down the liquor store, he burned down the liquor store.” “Lord I need the water to wash my blues away.” “I drank all my corn liquor, I had no more to sell.” “John Law burned down the liquor store”. “When the judge tasted my whiskey he didn’t give me no time…He said would you make ME some sometime”…Chris was pretty good with that slide on his guitar and he used it lot on this song.


(There was a pretty lengthy speech made by Chris concerning how he felt he was mistreated this year at the grammy awards and he felt it was strictly due to his race, not his talent. There was some in-depth statements he made as he compared his genre (The Blues) to all others and how he felt the judging and strict guidelines used were unfair and slanted against his race. It was an awkward pause as he prepared to perform his last song of the evening; and I felt it should be included in my story about this event).


Everyone stood when Chris completed his last song. They shouted and roared with applause to show their appreciation for a job well done by both artists.


I want to thank Dyson House Listening Room in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I want to thank Chris Thomas King for a great performance

I want to thank Eric Erdman for a great performance


Juanita Smith

Music Mom



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