Big Dog Mercer

Posted on 4/01/2010 by Gatorman

“I’m 6’10” and no, I never played basketball”

Martin Mercer is big, hence the moniker “Big Dog Mercer”.

Big Dog was born and Raised in Antioch, Illinois. Antioch is the most unlikely spot to raise a blues man. Nestled amongst numerous lakes; Chicagoan’s discovered Antioch in the later part of the 1800’s. They flocked to the area for fishing, hunting and gambling. Antioch’s most infamous resident was none other than Al Capone who had a residence there, as he did in so many areas of Chicago. It is rumored that he owned upwards of 400 houses spread throughout the Chicago land area. I guess you got to hide all them booze dollars somehow.

One would think that Antioch’s citizenry would birth fishermen, not blues men. I did not ask if Big Dog fishes, but he practices catch and release none the less. He catches his surroundings, writes about it and then releases it in song.

Big Dog is a blues man in every sense of the word. Off the record he has told me the regular spiels that all blues men have. He bit the blues hook and the bait was the “Blues Brothers Movie”. He jumped into that proverbial boat full of blues when he saw John Lee Hooker leaning up against a wall in the aforementioned. Something about that music hooked him and just blew him away. Big Dog claims that that movie influenced him to play guitar. The genre did not matter. At the age of sixteen he was playing Rock and Roll. I asked him what sort of music category he would put his music into, He replied, “Bluesbilly, Swamp Blues & Surfbilly.” That cleared up a lot.

The way he got his first guitar was like the way so many other teenagers got things, “Momma Please……….” Momma said no so off to old dad he went. He pleaded and he begged his father for one and he finally relented. Sears filled the order, as it did for so many guitar players and blues men. I often wonder if Sears Roebuck & Co. knows how much it contributed to the American music scene.

Not only does Big Dog pick a mean left handed guitar, he can slide on one just as well. He told me a little secret, “Whatever you can pick you can slide.” Yours truly has been plugging away at slide for a better part of a year now and I tell you folks it “ain’t” easy.

He has a way of singing that is extremely reminiscent of the old school of blues players. He has a growl to his voice that demands attention and combined with an attacking slide style, his is a joy to be heard. I might be a little partial towards Big Dog because I truly love the Blues and the blues is what he does best. Big Dog also has his own musical Instrument repair Shop.

While at Big Dogs mypace page make sure you listen to the songs "Alabama Wildman', "Big Dog Blues" and "Who's That Coming." Who's that coming has an excellent slide opening and closing.

If you get a chance to see Big Dog there is no mistaking him. There is a reason ya'll why they call him BIG DOG.


Copyright 2010

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

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