Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blues and Electronica


Monday, December 06, 2004

It was bound to happen. There has been a movement to expand the blues sound to include electronica music. If pop artist Moby represents one end of the sonic spectrum then R. L. Burnside represents a true blues man’s effort to push the art form forward. The band, Nu Blues, on Chris Thomas King’s 21st Century recording label lands somewhere in the middle.

So does it work? Listening to the variety of albums that amalgamate blues and electronica made me ask the seemingly simple question, ‘What are the blues?’ Much like rap, the blues WERE a threat to white mainstream society that was embraced by younger people in order to shock the previous generation. Furthermore, the blues relies heavily on a Confidence Game approach: the music is only as good as the listener can be convinced it is. Lastly, it’s heavy on rhythm and emotions. It’s also relatively easy to mimic and a vast majority of blues albums will not withstand the test of time.

So is this new hybrid sound blues or pop? The tradition 12 bar nature of blues is quickly laid aside on these new efforts. AND it cannot be performed live. Okay, with enough gadgets and tape loops it can be performed live. After numerous listenings I would say that Moby is interesting but hardly exciting, that RL Burnside is exciting and these experiments are interesting but very much a niche, and that Putumayo’s Blues Lounge various artist compilation is something you would probably be wiser to borrow from a friend.

Which brings us to Nu Blues, a four-piece, inter-racial band of young men, and their new album, “Dreams of a Blues Man.” Combing the sounds of the blues with the “modern sounds of the street” this band is exceptional. A tasteful smatter of singing and rap-like vocals set against loops & synthesizers, Nu Blues includes harmonica playing, a Nashville slide guitar and the dynamite vocals of Goose Ramon. The heavy blues influences seeds the music with familiar sounds and makes the album easy to pick-up. Okay, it’s not “The Blues” but it is quite interesting and folks that have a wider listening vocabulary will find this album worth their investigation. Clearly it’s not for everyone but than what music worth listening to is?

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