Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Blues Ain't Nuthin' But A State Of Mind

I've been kicking this post around for awhile trying to figure the best ways to do it. I'm not pretending to be a music historian, but I appreciate the roots of modern music. I see the value of visiting the forerunners of modern music as a way of seeing how music came to be. This article is not intended as a history lesson (altough the former History teacher in me certainly understands the value of analyzing popular music of an age to see the social climate in a nation). This is merely an look at what some people are doing today with the roots of music. So we take a look at two artists who are taking different roads to understanding the blues and presenting it to the alternative rock masses.

G LOVE AND SPECIAL SAUCE came out of Philadelphia with a slide guitar in hand and songs about drinking and women. What made their music so unusual at the time was how unique it sounded compared to the other stuff on the radio. "Cold Beverage" and "Baby's Got Sauce" were filled with the kind of grooves that make you sit up and take notice. I had forgotten about these guys until a friend of mine played their first album a few weeks back and I rembered how great it was. It has that front porch swing sort of feel to it. You can almost imagine these guys hanging out and playing just for the fun of it.

THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION came at the blues in a whole different way. Channeling Elvis and Sonic Youth at the same time, Spencer and his band tore up the stage playing revival style, high octane shows. You didn't just see them play, you saw them bleed the music onstage. On record, the sound never quite translated but you still got some of the passion and energy. Spencer attacks the songs with such venom that you can't help but get sucked in. The Blues Explosion made for a tight rhythm section for Spencer to have free rein to explore the blues with his guitar and his disctinctive wail of a singing voice. If you like THE WHITE STRIPES you will love these guys.

(m4a) G Love and Special Sauce -- Cold Beverage

(m4a) G Love and Special Sauce -- This Ain't Living

(mp3) Jon Spencer Blues Explosion -- Dang

(mp3) Jon Spencer Bues Explosion -- Wail

(mp3) Jon Spencer Bues Explosion -- Do You Wanna Get It?

(mp3) Jon Spencer Bues Explosion -- Not Yet

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