Blues talents offer a new spin on forgotten style

Being the Entertainment Editor I do receive a lot of free CDs in the mail. Although some people out there might think this is cool, most of these CDs are from small record labels trying to get their new bands heard or a free plug in the newspaper.

Honestly, most of these CD’s I receive flat-out stink, but I did find a gem inside all the trash I normally collect.

Blind Pig Records, based out of California, was kind enough to send me a CD that was awesome. Much to my surprise, the CD was of a blues band out of Texas, Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King. I know what your thinking, “Blues? Who listens to that anymore?”

Well the answer to that question is basically nobody because unfortunately blues was once feared dead and has been forever banished to the underground scene that it plays in today. Now it is trying to be revived by several acts and record labels nation-wide..

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King are just some of the artists trying to bring back the once dying brand of blues music that once captivated the nation, with their latest LP from Blind Pig Records, “Roadhouse Research.”

Both musicians are extremely talented and experienced. Kubeck, a veteran of the Dallas bar scene for over 30 years and a guitar player since the young age of 14, has played with blues greats such as Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Three Kings, B.B., Albert and Freddie.

King is an experienced jazz guitar player and singer from the streets of Louisiana, and prefers softer jazz riffs instead of the heavier Texas rock/blues.

According to the band’s Web site, both artists prefer the differences between the two despite the fact that they are opposite in style, and haven’t regretted teaming up and hitting the road since.

“We’ve been traveling steady for a little over 11 years now… but I count my blessings,” said Kubeck, “A lot of people can’t do this. It’s rough sometimes but it’s a neat thing to be able to do.”

The duo does not hesitate to start their CD off with a bang in the first slamming single “Healthy Mama.” The single is reminiscent of most movie soundtrack beats where a macho-motif is displayed.

On “Healthy Mama,” King’s raspy vocals and Kubek’s unforgettable guitar playing come after listeners like a freight train, hitting them right in the face. This song traces back to the historic blues patterns but also sticks out and sounds like a macho-motif anthem that most listeners would just want to turn up in their car or home stereo.

Upon hearing the single, most listeners prefer the style King and Kubeck have developed and like the songs they hear from the duo.

“I like this song.” said Mark Sheffler, a local SHSU student, of the first single. “It sounds like it belongs in a movie, maybe an intro sequence to a character.”

On the next single “Tell Me Why,” King and Kubeck rely on what have made blues music famous: howling guitar riffs and raspy vocals complaining of a broken heart. Though this technique sounds simple, King and Kubeck show their veteran musician status by their undeniable talents on the guitar and on the mike.

“Cryin’ Shame” explodes as the next track on the album. King and Kubeck have fun while they discuss the realities of today’s music industry and the changing demands of the younger society in a comical blues tune.

“If you’re music and you’re past 21, everybody thinks that your day is done, it’s a cryin’ shame.” said King on the topic of today’s youth not respecting the musicians who have paved the way for today’s top stars in the track “Cryin’ Shame.”

The comical vocals by King in “Cryin’ Shame” are followed by Kubeck’s melancholy guitar riffs that could easily be traced back to the legendary B.B. King.

On the next track, “Got To Get Paid” King’s complaining is overshadowed by Kubeck’s electric guitar. Kubeck uses this song and his guitar as his playground in this song, leaving audiences forgetting about the vocals that are almost non-existent in this song.

Kubeck’s gives the impression he will never run out of guitar melodies in “Got To Get Paid,” and audiences are taking notice to his wonderful guitar playing.

“This song is my personal favorite,” said Sam Varner, a sophomore at SHSU and music lover. “It almost sounds like his guitar is doing the singing for the lead singer.”

The two artists change up the style on the next track of “Roadhouse Research” by offering a different style of the blues. The fast upbeats and quick guitar melodies offer change to the mostly melancholy, laid-back album.

This song also attributes to exactly how talented both musicians are. Both the vocals and the guitar excel with the new tempo.

The rest of the record follows the same path great blues records have taken and has several notable tracks like “I Need More” and “Standing in My Door.”

The record boasts 10 exciting blues tracks and is produced by the guitar player Kubeck.

“Roadhouse Research” offers a new spin on an old style that has become familiar to music enthusiasts over time. In a society that doesn’t like change and almost all music sounds the same King and Kubeck offer an exciting change for the better that everyone can enjoy.

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