When one thinks of a blues band, Lebanon isn’t usually a place that pops into mind. That looks to be on the way to changing. Making waves to ensure the Middle East is well represented in the world of blues music is The Wanton Bishops, a Lebanese blues band that recently hit America’s Deep South to explore the home of their art form, a journey that is also the focus of Red Bull TV documentary Walk it Home.
The Wanton Bishops, consisting of Nader Mansour and Eddy Ghossein, have been earning accolades worldwide since forming in 2011. In just a few short years, Mansour and Ghossein have managed to turn their mutual appreciation for blues music into one hell of a successful endeavor, with international tour dates locked in, an underground fanbase growing to an above-ground following, and, of course, a Red Bull documentary following them as they explore the birthplace of the blues.
“Dreaming about the trip came first,” Mansour tells The Reel Word. “We’ve always wanted to be there, experience this culture first hand. Luckily, the lovely folks at Red Bull Media House thought it was a good idea and jumped inÂ with the documenting part. We wereÂ obviously thrilled.”
Walk it Home follows The Wanton Bishops as they jam on porches with locals, hit townie bars, and record new tracks. The surrounding culture they met was quite distant from their home country of Lebanon, but Mansour says the U.S. didn’t hold too much of a culture shock.
“The Americans in general have advertised their culture veryÂ vividly through cinema and music. Nothing was strange to us. It was new and exciting, of course, but we knew exactly how to handle a sheriff, a juke joint, a waffle place, crawfish or anything we wouldÂ encounter. The one thing that surprised us was how well we we’re greeted – musically! We were a little anxious about our psychedelic, blues, rock n roll, indie, or whatever you want to call it. But they dug it.”
Mansour says the experience of being welcomed with open arms as they explored the blues trail was like “being at home,” an experience that has worked its way into their creative work.
“It gave us a much betterÂ understanding where it all came from. It also changed our thinking, writing, and composing process. The deeper South we went, the closer we got to being home. Beirut is now showcased much louder in our nextÂ album recordings.”
Walk it Home is an entertaining journey of a band exploring the roots of their music, and a piece that serves us quite the diary entry for the two members of The Wanton Bishops.
“It’s very strange watching yourself on a massive screen! Ben Holman, the director, did a magnificent job at really showing what happened there. The only thing we would’ve loved to show in the film was the crew; after all, it was a beautiful human experience, 12 people who didn’t know eachÂ other the night before,Â on the road, in the Deep South–“
Watch “Walk it Home” exclusively on Red Bull TV on October 29, 2015