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

Fat Possum's Nathaniel Mayer

Nathaniel Mayer

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Artist: Nathaniel Mayer
Title: I Just Want to be Held
Label: Fat Possum

I don’t know how they continue to do it but once again the Fat Possum Record Label releases a terrific rootsy rock n’ blues album.

Nathaniel Mayer’s release, “I Just Want to be Held” ties together many of the genres that make up Rock Music’s bedrock sound.” With a voice that crosses between an anguished Joe Cocker and besoddened James Brown, Mayer wheezes his way through a litany of ten songs including three covers. Mayer’s rendition of John Lennon’s “I Found Out” is a perfect epiphany between the tune and lyrics of rock’s tortured Saint and the grit, grime, and broken glass of Detroit’s inner-city decay. Few should dare to cover a tune from Lennon’s pain ridden solo era and yet Mayer takes Lennon’s misery and ratchets it up. Pure musical beauty is the worst way emoting what “the blues” was meant to evoke in the listener.

Growing up in Detroit in 1960’s it’s clear that Mayer’s music is a blend of the pop sensibilities of Motown and the blues overtones from having heard migrants on the so called Blue Highway. The Blue Highway is a reference to massive movement of rural Southern Blacks to northern urban industrial cities after WWII looking for work and a way off the farm. A manifestation of this mass migration is the blues that were recorded in the 1950’s including; Muddy Waters & Buddy Guy in Chicago and John Lee Hooker’s stint in Detroit. And maybe it’s me but I hear a lot of Iggy Pop’s thrusting musical anxiety buried deep within Mayer’s music. Mayer’s use of the organ to accent and drive the songs harkens back to AM pop music of the mid-60’s while his lyrics delve well beyond the cliché ridden crapola so often served up as the blues.

When I consider rap music; like the blues of the 50’s, Soul Music of the ‘60’s or Funk/Disco of the 70’s & 80’s, it reminds me that this “sound” is simply White America’s fear & fascination of Black American culture being sold back in the highly stylized packaging. Like modern rock music however eventually this exaggerated ‘fear for sale’ gets marginalized and pasteurized so that it’s “fit” for television, radio and movie soundtracks: it’s about as dangerous as spoilt milk. I mean isn’t Eminem simply Elvis Presley of his generation? Which brings me to my point, ala’ Jack Nicholson, you want the blues? You can’t handle the blues! Cause if you could you’d be so heavily into the Fat Possum Record Label it would be selling like a Bright Eyes album!

Check out this Nathaniel Mayer record, it’s the perfect mix between pop music, the blues, and soul. What a great way to kick off the year!

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