Mojolation (Review)

Mojolation (Review)
Mojolation (Review)
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The first time I grabbed an icy cold bottle of beer on a hot night and experienced Blues Music was at Hard Times bar on Cary Street just off the VCU campus. It was 1981 and as a college Sophomore I had experienced only what we now know as Classic Rock, then 70s superstar rock, then punk.

 

A gruff looking dude with jet black hair and a handle bar mustache took to the stage, smoke creating a haze around him and the band. They took their time getting, gathering their instruments and talking, taking swigs and plugging into amps. Then suddenly the blues erupted my consciousness. Bill Blue and his band hit the ground running and created a pathway and a standard for blues music that night that I have been following ever since.

 

Bill became a local legend in Richmond even as the Punk era began to roar. I used to book him into what was then Stuffy’s Upstairs for acoustic shows. He proved just as deft with an acoustic guitar and slide and a voice that was born to sing the blues as he was with a full band. Then suddenly Bill left Richmond and landed in Key West, Florida where today he is still a Blues legend, playing mostly at the Green Parrot just off Duval Street.

 

Bill Blue’s new album Mojolation, is his first offering since he left Richmond. It’s quite clear he hasn’t missed a beat. Any blues aficionado would welcome this fresh set of songs that are clearly rooted in the best of the blues traditions.

 

Two overarching themes come to mind when listening to this album. First and foremost, Bill and his band touch base with the very roots of blues music and honors the culture with a soulful passion that, while exquisitely recorded, has the energy of a live show. Second, while the music reaches back more than a century to reflect those blues roots, Bill himself showcases more than 40 years and thousands of live shows, worth of experience. These are truly the riffs of a man who plays the blues guitar as easily as he breathes.

 

Much like any Bill Blue set, Mojolation is a direct link from the blues of earliest black American culture to today; touching base with every iteration of the evolving nature of the genre. And it is all played with the deft hand of an old blues guy who has never stopped playing.

 

Reviewed by Eric Futterman

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