Cephas and Wiggins - Shoulder to Shoulder (Alligator, 2006)
Guitarist and singer John Cephas and harmonica player Phil Wiggins have been playing as an acoustic duo in the Piedmont tradition of musicians like Sleepy John Estes for many years now. Their gentle folk inspired music is a welcome break from the hyperactive electric guitar playing that seems to dominate modern blues. Performing standards and originals in a laid back storytelling manner, these gentlemen recall a time when the blues was a means of communication and storytelling. The blues can be a hard road to travel and the versions of "Broke and Hungry" and "Three Ball Blues" are filled with the imagery of drifters, pawnshops and heartbreak. It's not all sadness and woe however, as "Blues Three Different Ways," "Ain't Seen My Baby" and "Susie Q" show the bands link with the blues tradition. Fans of acoustic folk blues or traditional American music in general should find much to enjoy here.
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Jack DeJohnette - Made in Chicago (ECM, 2015) *****
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