Monday, July 21, 2008

Bill Sims, Jr. - American Blues Roots Duo (Delta Groove, 2008)

Guitar player and vocalist Sims teams up with harmonica player Mark Lavoie for an extremely laid back album of blues standards and originals. There is a very intimate back porch feel to the music, with both musicians playing acoustically, and collaborating well. But while this feeling does offer the disc a distinctive charm, the music does start to feel a little sleepy and mannered at times. Sims touches on some of the legends of blues music, playing the music of Skip James and Muddy Waters, and it is obvious that both of these men have enormous regard for the history of the music. Highlights include a smooth and rootsy "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad" and "Telephone Blues." However, Sims and his colleague have problems evoking the menace and foreboding of "Must Have Been the Devil" and "Meanest Old Woman", these gents are just a little too kindhearted to go way down in the alley where the deep blues reside. If you are a fan of traditional acoustic blues, you will probably enjoy this disc. The musicians are talented, if not overly ambitious and the songs are like familiar friends.

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