Willie Dixon’s New Spirituality

Willie Dixon

Willie Dixon developed his own set of spiritual tools through the music of the blues.  In his life, he met innumerable hardships that any black southerner would have faced in the south in the first half of the twentieth century.  Through the blues, Willie Dixon not only spoke about his own hardships and pains, but also provided help and sympathy to millions of others.

At the age of 13, Willie’s father died though they had never lived in the same house.  Willie’s mother worked to support her children and lost 7 of the 14 children that she birthed.  Despite these hardships, Willie’s mother encouraged him to read poetry and engage in performance art.  During this time, Willie was exposed to the harsh racism of the south and even suffered attacks from members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Dixon did not declare himself a member of one religion, however, he made it clear that the blues performed a very spiritual function in his own life.  He believed that the blues are “inside us.”  This common internal emotion and need for expression provide a spiritual function across humanity.  In this way, Dixon used the blues to deal with his own struggles like “therapy.”