Bible Belt Blues with Paula Vega Vondenstein - Music Interview
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
The W.A M. Awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding independent artists from around the world in multiple genres and categories. "Best Song" and "Best Album" nominations were based on Artistry, Musicianship, Originality, Professionalism, Diversity, and Excellence. W.A.M. stands for "We Are the Music Makers.' Paula Vega Vondenstein, of Bible Belt Blues, won the 2020 W.A.M. Award for Best Lyrics in the Christian/Gospel music category for Bible Belt Blues song, "We Worship the King of Kings."
What prompted you to mix Christian lyrics with blues music?
I discovered a school of music in a little town called Bentonia, Mississippi on the outskirts of the Delta that is known for its gritty guitar picking and its hauntingly beautiful minor chords. It was the perfect backdrop for the repentance and revival songs I wanted to create with my husband, Harold, for our Bible Belt Blues music.
Many people believe that bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at the Crossroads in exchange for success and that blues music is the devil’s music.
The story about Robert Johnson is a fable. Robert Johnson received neither recognition nor commercial success with his music while he was alive. Johnson created a style that was uniquely his which was recognized for its brilliance long after he had died. Blues music is a genre of music; it is the lyrics that make the music Christian or secular.
Can you tell me a bit about the history of the blues?
Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues and all blues as we know it today had its origins in Negro spirituals. Bluesman and Christian evangelist, Thomas A. Dorsey, is credited with creating the genre of Gospel Blues as well as the genre of contemporary Gospel music.
When you and your husband decided to create Christian music together why not create it in the “tried and true” genre of Contemporary Christian Music?
We wanted our music to be distinctly different from everyone else’s. My lyrics, our music, our name, Bible Belt Blues; it is all bold and deliberately different and it worked. I don’t think we would have received the awards, recognition, and radio airplay that we have received if we sounded like everyone else.
Can you briefly share with us the awards and accolades Bible Belt Blues has received?
My husband, Harold, and I started creating music together as a couple two years ago in September of 2018. We have since recorded and produced two Christian albums, “I’m Not Ashamed to Be a Christian” and “My God, My God.” We are currently working on our third album with five new songs released since March of 2020. Against all odds, Bible Belt Blues won the 2019 Josie Music Award for Gospel/Christian Duo, 2020 Finalist InterContinental Music Award for Gospel Christian/America, 2020 Finalist Nomination for the Josie Music Awards, Song of the Year Nomination for the 2020 Gulf Coast Gospel Music Awards, and the 2020 W.A.M. Music Award for Best Gospel/Christian Lyrics for our song, “We Worship the King of Kings.” Amazingly, 25 of our songs have already received radio airplay. Thank You Jesus!
Have any of your songs charted?
Bible Belt Blues has charted numerous times on the Roots Music Report with Cross 104’s Gospel Blues Hour Syndicated Program and has charted every single month since January 2020 on WNIR Radio’s Top Ten Monthly Chart and this is a secular radio station! Only God!
Have any of your Bible Belt Blues songs received any Blues music awards?
Two of our songs, “Can’t Take it With You” and “Can’t Take Away My Joy” were accepted as part of a compilation album with various artists by Bongo Boy Records entitled “Backroom Blues Volume Nine” which will be released on November 13, 2020. Album Page: https://bongoboyrecords.com/backroombluesvol9/ Both songs were also submitted for consideration to the 2021 Blues Music Awards for Contemporary Blues Song of the Year. This is the very first year that the Blues Music Awards is accepting individual song entries!
Many of your Bible Belt Blues songs incorporate the harmonica. Has Harold always played the harmonica?
No, he recently learned how to play after I challenged him. So he learned from various YouTube instructors and has become quite good!
What are the perfect venues for you to perform your music?
Revival concerts at churches and Christian retreats, colleges and schools, and at Christian music festivals.
Where can we find your Bible Belt Blues music? For more information, visit our website.
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