Saturday, April 28, 2007

Guy Davis - Chocolate to the Bone (Red House, 2003)

With over-amped guitar solos making up so much of the "blues" scene these days, the modern acoustic stilings of Guy Davis come as a welcome relief. As a guitarist, harmonica player and songwriter, he works at the intersection of the blues tradition and modern music, meaning that he's respectful to the past, but not slavish to it. This interesting album covers quite a bit of territory, from the riotous storytelling of "Railroad Song" where Davis huffs and puffs on the harmonica while breathlessly telling the tale of a group of escaped convicts, to the somber and confessional "Tell Me Where the Road Is." Davis does equally well on standard material like Howlin' Wolf's "Back Door Man." While he doesn't quite have the power or the presence of the big man (who does?) he delivers a rollicking performance that is the highlight of the album. The same goes for the classics "Driftin' Blues" and "Matchbox Blues" where Davis turns in fine interpretations of theses great songs and proves that it is possible to explore repertoire pieces in a fresh and new way. Davis makes fine music for thoughtful and patient blues fans everywhere.

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