Originally posted on April 2, 2008
The blues today manages to hang on without dominating urban neighborhoods and college campuses like it did in its heyday. There are still clubs that feature it and a loyal following which, while not extraordinarily huge, remains solid. You could say the same about all the other musics that are not in the lowest common denominator mainstream, while we’re at it. Perhaps satellite radio will combine with college stations and the rapidly expanding world of downloads to gradually increase listenership for the various genres.
Caucasian bluesman-guitarist Howard Glazer is a survivor of these times. His CD Brown Paper Bag (Random Chance) gives a good sample of what he can do. His voice takes a bit of getting used to. It is not an ideal blues vehicle. Once you get past that you realize that he’s extended the tradition by working within it, inside-out. There are definite moments where influences of the Chicago urban blues greats are evident. Then there are traces of Johnny Winter and a little Hendrix too. He plays a vibrant electric in a blues trio format and the bassist and drummer back him with flair. Then he switches occasionally to a resonator and gets an even older sound. I found myself growing more and more pleased with his playing and concept the more I listened.