Benjamin Booker recently released his second studio album Witness which is proving to be one of the best albums of the year. The album mixes gospel, garage rock, and blues as Booker expands upon his sound. “Right On You” is one of the best tracks on the record with its raucous guitars and Booker’s growly voice.
I listen to the blues ever so often throughout the year and B.B. King is one of the artists I return to. His guitar playing is quite simply the best in the genre. Lucille really screams as his fingers moves up and down the fretboard. I never listened to Live in Cook County Jail, which is #499 on the Rolling Stone Greatest Albums list. What struck me the most is just how charismatic King is when interacting with the crowd. “How Blue Can You Get” is my favorite track from the record. The guitar solo, in the beginning, is phenomenal and King’s rendition of an ungrateful woman is quite funny.
I first heard about Shakey Graves last year and have been following him ever since. His music is in the same vein as Two Gallants and Benjamin Booker with its folk blues influences. Shakey’s guitar playing is absolutely impeccable especially on “If Not For You”. Check it out above.
I first heard about blues legend Junior Kimbrough from listening to The Black Keys. Their cover songs of Junior’s material was really good but after listening to Junior’s “Meet Me in the City”, I have to say that Junior is absolutely amazing. His vocals are soul wrenching and forlorn as he sings about his woman who is thinking about leaving him. Check it out above.
I’ve been listening a lot to Chet Baker recently and discovered “Born to be Blue” which completely blew me away. The song is in the standard 12-bar blues but played on a piano and has Baker singing in his well-know whispery and soft-voiced way. Baker’s voice is melancholy which only heightens the image of lost love and loneliness that the piano and bass guitar accentuate. It is a track made for rainy days and nighttime reflections.