Soundbite | MUSIC: Soundbite | Indy Week

Look out, Keb' Mo'. Chris Thomas King is poised to give you a run. King has cut a number of sides since his 1986 debut The Beginning, which featured King playing all the instruments (guitar, bass and drums) himself. Me, My Guitar and the Blues brings him full circle, as he once again handles all the instruments and vocals.

A native of Baton Rouge, La., King comes by his chops naturally. His father, Tabby Thomas, owns a blues club there and recorded tracks for the Excello label in the 1960s. So King grew up with an appreciation of artists including Slim Harpo; later, he toured with his dad and jammed with blues greats such as Lowell Fulson and Buddy Guy. But King's influences also include such diverse talent as the Sugar Hill Gang and Jimi Hendrix.

And Me, My Guitar and the Blues ranges from hip-hop/rap ("Cain") to smooth soul ("Stay Just as You Are") to Delta blues (Robert Johnson's "Stones in My Passway"). Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign" churns with a funky rap. King has kicked around a bit during the '90s, spending time in Los Angeles and overseas in Denmark. He brings street sensibility to his music, and it is reflected not only in the lyrics but in his overall sound, which includes just about every musical style you can shake a pick at.

Especially adept at finger picking on steel string guitar and dobro ("Why Blues," "Superstitious Blues"), King can also make a Fender Stratocaster scream ("Born Under a Bad Sign"). The title track is a soulful R&B song as poignant as it gets.

A talent exuding potential, King may not have quite found his niche yet, but he's definitely honing in.

Add a comment