Eddie C. Campbell - Spider Eating Preacher (Delmark, 2012) Campbell is a veteran guitarist and songwriter with a vivid imagination that brings a unique outlook to the blues that he performs. He adds aspects of soul and gospel to his deep core of Chicago blues to create a unique synthesis. The title track. "Spider Eating Preacher" is a very memorable song, with lyrics evoking gospel music as the holy man of the title literally is eating spiders to keep The Devil from spinning his evil web. The traditional man - woman dynamic of the blues is also well represented, but to Campbell's credit, he never falls into rote blues cliches. Control and release and management of emotion is the key here as Campbell builds the music to dynamic crescendos with taut authority.
Studebaker John - Old School Rockin' (Delmark, 2012) "Studebaker" John Grimaldi is a Chicago bluesman, born and bred. His original band The Hawks, began as a tribute to the great slide guitarist J.B. Hutto. Here he fronts a bar-band style group that melds the electric blues he was weaned on with early rock 'n' roll reminiscent of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Riffs are the keys to these songs, and John and his band have enough to keep a club crowd rocking late into the night. He hits you with the plan straight up with "Rockin' That Boogie" throwing a jolt of electric energy into a primal boogie beat. "Old School Rockin'" and "Disease Called Love" keep the fire burning, while "Fire Down Below" and "Deal With the Devil" add religious imagery to the mix. Studebaker John is something of an "everyman's" musician and people looking for no frills meat and potatoes blues rock will feel right at home here.
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Highlights From Winter Jazzfest 2014
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