This project investigates the use of African American English (AAE) features by live performing blues artists belonging to different social groups and time periods, and analyzes the social meaning that these stylistic-linguistic practices generate. In doing so, the project responds to a lack of variationist research on the use of AAE by non-members of the African American community, the general absence of staged performance data in sociolinguistic inquiries, and the current gap in scientific knowledge on the effect of globalization on locally embedded indexical expressions of authenticity. A corpus of 540 songs, consisting of both studio and live performances, as well as covers and originals, will be analyzed using mixed effects logistic regression to confirm whether blues artists are probable to realize the AAE variant of a number of phonological and lexicogrammatical variables, regardless of social group or time period. Qualitative content analysis of interviews with crucial stakeholders of the blues community will help uncover the social meaning that these stylistic-linguistic practices evoke. The proposed project will hence innovate (i) empirically, by considering the use of AAE by non-members of the African American community across a range of staged performance contexts, and (ii) conceptually, by contributing to an empirically based scientific understanding of the globalization of local indexicalities and the notion of the authentic blues singer.