In his short lifetime (1911-1938) Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson created a remarkable collection of songs, travelling and performing throughout the Delta region. In 1936 he had the opportunity to record 29 songs over a period of 3 days in a Texas recording studio. A few songs were released as 78 RPM records and were local hits in the south. After his death, Johnson’s music eventually languished in obscurity until Columbia Records released the songs on vinyl in the 1960’s. British Rock musicians of the era were profoundly influenced by American Blues music, most notable being the recordings of Robert Johnson.
Robert Johnson’s legend has grown while his music lives on in worldwide popularity. In 2004 Eric Clapton released an entire tribute CD to Robert Johnson. It is the bluesman’s song “Terraplane Blues” that inspired this painting. The 1935 Hudson Terraplane automobile that is featured is owned by Clem Martin in Connecticut. Many of Johnson’s song titles are referenced in the painting, including “32-20 Blues”, “Hellhound On My Trail”, “Stones in My Passway”, and “Crossroads”.
The painting received the top prize from the National Society of Painters in Casein & Acrylic (NSPC&A).