Hey Dude After Hours couldn’t be more pleased to announce the performance of Mercedes Escobar. (Guatemala)
Bio: Mercedes Escobar was born in Guatemala City in April 1988. She began playing the accordion at age 6. At 13 she moved on to playing the guitar and she taught herself to sing. A friend of the family heard her sing, and he introduced her to music she had never been exposed to before; from Jimmy Hendrix to Son House, from ABBA to the Mamas and the Papas, and then she went through different influences, until she reached into the blues, where she has absorbed Howlin’ Wolf, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Hank Williams, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and other old blues, country and folk influences from the first half of the 1900s. In spite of the resistance against the blues genre in Guatemala, Mercedes kept on playing blues and folk, thus creating her own personality, which earned her the title of “the blues pilgrim” by the Guatemalan press. Even though she’s since taken on other genres such as country, americana, old jazz and Latin boleros, in her own words, she is “not planning to give up on playing the blues anytime soon”. At age 18, Mercedes moved to Norway and when she returned to Guatemala, she moved to Antigua Guatemala. This is where she currently resides.
Her first EP “The Blue Devil” was recorded at Winslow Ct Studios in Los Angeles, CA with Craig Parker Adams. It was launched in December 2016. Her song “Sangre Negra” was a finalist in the Latin category of the 2016 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. She has since shared the stage with musicians such as Rubén Albarrán (Café Tacvba) and Gaby Moreno, among others.
Currently, Mercedes is working on writing music which will be featured on the upcoming film “Temblores”, by acclaimed Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante (Ixcanul, 2015). She will be traveling in the United States and Mexico from July through October 2017.
In 1988, a little girl and a tiny guitar were discovered in a pepper patch on the south side of Volcan Fuego by an itinerant blues man from Chicago. The blues man offered her a lift to either an orphanage or the next bar they came to. She slapped a Q100 note on the dash and said in a tiny, piping voice, “If the whiskey is any good, there’s more of that coming.” The two of them traveled all over the world for the next 20 years, dodging cops and staying two quick steps ahead of the bullets and the bandits, all the while they were making ends meet with him on the harp and her on the guitar. Whenever she sang it was like she was whipping the devil’s ass in a bar brawl while charming an angel to buy her the next round.
A few years back, the old man passed and that girl’s all grown up. She headed back to Guatemala with a war chest of stories and a satchel of songs to make her stand in the land from which she sprung. She’s not sure how long she’ll be around these parts, as she’s promised the old blues man that his ashes will find their way back up to Chicago one day. Last thing he said to her was, “There’s a bartender works down at Reggie’s. Find him and he’ll set you up nice.”
So catch her while you can. Name’s Mercedes Escobar.
-Michael J. Tallon