Moreland & Arbuckle: 1861

There’s contemporary blues, and then there’s just blues. Maybe in the late 1960s, Moreland & Arbuckle would have been considered “contemporary blues,” contending with Savoy Brown and Johnny Winter for their share of a young electric blues audience. But in 2008, they’re “just blues.” And that’s definitely a good thing. No synthesizers, no importing of exotic beats, not even one single attempt to cater to an audience outside of the blues. This is the real deal – raw, unadulterated, electric blues – guitar, harmonica, and some drums to add some backbeat. Or in some cases, as on the obligatory woman-done-me-wrong song “Tell Me Why,” just an acoustic parlor guitar and some vocals for an intimate, stripped down Delta feel. Guitarist Aaron Moreland and vocalist/harmonicat Dustin Arbuckle stick to the basics here, and they do it so well, with such confidence and power, that one has to consider this record a blessing to the soul of modern music. 1861 reminds us once again that less sometimes truly is more. (LABEL: NorthernBlues 2008)

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