Here are eight recent albums from the blues, soul and Americana side of the street that I think you'll find worthwhile.
Troubadours of alternative country, the Old 97's stomped back into St. Louis on Wednesday with a set that showcased the band as rowdy and sincere.
When Lou Edward Thimes spoke on the radio and intoned "Fatha, Fatha, Fatha," it was an adult thing: women listeners approved, and the male ones would nod in agreement: they knew when listening to Fatha Thimes, the music would be top-notch soul/rhythm and blues, selected and voiced by one of the most identifiable talents on St. Louis airwaves.
The early bird gets the worm, but it essay writer was the early crowd that filled the tables at the Old Rock House long before the first strum of guitar on Thursday. On stage, the congestion of the floor was matched by the clutter of the eight-piece Mingo Fishtrap, set to open the show. The Austin-based band broke the ice with comforting instrumental introduction, but by the time they dropped the first groove, the floor space had already disappeared from sight.
Whether or not "My Daddy Rocks Me" is the first popular song to mention both "rock" and "roll" in a non-religious context, the tune remains a pre-War jazz and blues classic. Tom Hall and Alice Spencer, veterans of the Geyer Street Sheiks, and now regularly performing together as T&A, capture both the rock and the roll and a whole lot more in this swinging version.
No American city is immune from street crime, but post-Katrina New Orleans has been devastated by so much senseless violence. Written by Carl Gustafson, "Another Murder in New Orleans" looks the facts square in the eye and expresses the human scale of the tragedy through the kind of performance that only Bobby Rush and Dr. John can summon.