Blues Styles

The Blues have become a tradition that embraces change while retaining a reverence for the traditional forms.  It has evolved in many directions, including jazz, R&B, rock and roll, and more. Below is a list of styles generally considered to be Blues today. 

Other SCI Blues Education information:



Boogie-Woogie Blues

Boogie-Woogie is a piano style that evolved from the “stride piano” of the early 1900s; it became a national craze during the war years and beyond.  Boogie-Woogie artists include Clarence "Pine Top" Smith, Pinetop Perkins, Big Joe Turner.


Chicago Blues

Chicago Blues has been described as delta blues amplified. The west side of Chicago produced a soul blues style using high energy guitar work. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, and Otis Rush are considered the prototype players. 


Country Blues

Country Blues is a hybrid category that includes elements of R&B, Louisiana swamp boogie, Piedmont, gospel, and country.  It is interesting to note that early delta blues players might be classified as country blues by today’s standards.


Delta Blues

Delta Blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music.  It originated in the Mississippi Delta, and guitar and harmonica are the dominant instruments used.  Sonny Boy WilliamsonJames Cotton, R.L. Burnside are noted Delta Blues players.

Jump Blues

Jump Blues is an up-tempo style popular in the 1940s.  Kansas City produced a swing style of blues that combined honking saxes with “blues shouter” vocals in a rowdy, uptempo style.  Notable artists include Cab Calloway, Smiley Lewis, and Sam Taylor.

New Orleans Blues

Louisiana Blues is a style that includes many different types of rhythms, including Latin rhumba and the almost country-like zydeco beat. New Orleans was the melting pot of most musical influences in America, so the music of Louisiana combines Cajun, Creole, Zydeco Latin, marches, swing, and others.


Notable artists include James Booker, Fats Domino, Guitar Slim, ​Smiley Lewis, Little Richard, and Steamboat Willie.


Piedmont Blues

Piedmont Blues refers to a guitar fingerpicking style from the foothills of the Carolinas and Georgia.  It's characterized by a thumb bass pattern that supports a syncopated melody picked with the fingers.  Piedmont Blues musicians include Etta Baker, Blind Boy Fuller, Peg Leg Sam, and Bumble Bee Slim.

Soul Blues
Soul blues, or Rhythm and Blues (R&B) is a style of blues develpoed in the late 60s and early 70s.  It combines soul music and urban contemporary music.


Motown, Stax Records, and Atlantic Records published many songs by artists such as Bobby "Blue" BlandRay Charles, Robert Cray, Etta James, Denise LaSalle, Bobby Rush, and Ike Turner.



Texas Blues

Texas Blues is a hard-driving swing style blues using repetitive riffs interspersed with lyrics, and having more swing than the Chicago style. Stevie Ray Vaughan contributed by using various types of guitar sounds such as southern slide guitar and different melodies of blues and jazz.


Notable performers include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Freddie King, Lonnie Mack, Big Mama Thorton, Jimmie Vaughan, T-Bone Walker, Edgar Winter



© 2015 by South Central Indiana Blues Society, Inc. - P.O. Box 2059, Nashville, IN 47448 - - Created with