Tuesday, May 6, 2014


A strong and different debut release from an actual Mississippian, at 29 Singleton is old enough to have developed his own sound, and young enough to have vastly different influences from previous generations of blues players.  What's really different about him is his strong hip-hop streak, an early love.  What he's doing is electric blues, but singing and writing in a hip-hop style, using the rhyming patterns and first-person style.  Now, don't expect all the guns and ho's, thankfully.  This isn't gangsta, it's still blues, but certainly with an exciting new twist.

Singleton's also a smoking guitar player, with lots of terrific and soulful licks.  When the hip-hop isn't present, he comes up with more typical originals, all first-rate as well, such as the slow and fiery Crime Scene, something you could imagine Charles Bradley digging into.  Keep Pushin has a big rock drums, organ stabs and a great, true story.  Seems Singleton wasn't just a blues prodigy, but a basketball star as well, and he sings about his two NBA tryouts until an injury wrecked his hopes.  Luckily an uncle took him to Mississippi blues clubs, and he "got blues blood in my veins".

But it's those hip-hop lines that make the album most interesting, even though it's excellent across the board.  Simply, I can't think of anybody sounding like this before.  It's actually only heavily present on a couple of tracks, including opener I Refuse To Lose, but what a cut.  The bragging is there, but the blues is pounding behind, as he's telling us his career is just starting, and to look out for him: "Y'all ain't caught onto it yet/maybe this time you won't forget/I win at whatever I choose/because I refuse to lose."  I wouldn't doubt him, this sounds like the future of the blues to me.

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