taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

ERIC BIBB Booker’s Guitar

Common sense says that the song-by-song profiling of bluesman Eric Bibb’s (www.ericbibb. com) latest offering Booker’s Guitar is imperative because of the nonlinear storytelling aspect, but such an approach would focus too much on the borrowed nostalgia and miss out on the album’s true milieu. Booker’s Guitar as a whole is a narrative as old and as storied as the Blues itself. It’s based on the parable of the itinerant instrument; a guitar that perpetually finds itself in the hands of one player after another and inspiring each. The guitar in question was that of Delta bluesman Booker White and the album’s inspiration sprung from — you guessed it — Bibb being given the chance to hold a guitar once owned by White. Bibb went on to say that this was his opportunity to reconnect with the Delta blues tradition. Bibb does so here admirably, crafting soundscapes so graceful and sparse that they almost belie any relation at all to the Delta blues. It’s not the gritty, almost dirty blues album that one might expect, but it’s also clear that Bibb was having fun by not merely trying to recreate the Deep Blues, but add an imprint all his own.


Eric Bibb will perform with Ruthie Foster Saturday night at the High Point Theatre.

DOUG KEITH The Lucky Ones

What lessons have we learned from the Goo Goo Dolls? The first is that sometimes men have to suffer for the sake of their women’s taste in music. The second is that punk musicians should never, ever venture down the path of folk-pop. Doug Keith travels that same hallowed pathway on his second solo release, The Lucky Ones, which was certainly guaranteed to end poorly for all involved. Keith has traded his punk chops for uplifting, though highly commonplace strumpop marked by a few major missteps and little saving grace. It begins promisingly with the pulsating benediction to drug and alcohol recovery, but Keith’s gruff timbre sounds almost out of tune against the barrage of guitar and violin melodies on the title track. It’s hard to tell whether “Don’t Let Your Darkness Overtake You” was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek inspirational or whether Keith was sincere about the combination of that title and the songs repressive cheesiness, but nothing can forgive the background vocals found within. Give Keith a mulligan here, but we hope to have another punk-tinged record soon.


Doug Keith will perform with Our Horse Jethro and John Harrison Friday night at the Green Bean.

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