Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homemade Jamz Youthful Blues

Much has been made about the family band from Mississippi, The Homemade Jamz Blues Band who were runners up at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge a year or so ago.

When Lucky Peterson first came to attention as a very young child playing keyboards and singing the blues, there was no doubt that part of his appeal was as a child. One might be tempted to suggest that part of the appeal of The Homemade Jamz Blues band is their youth. The Perry siblings range from 9 year old drummer Tara, 13 year old Kyle on bass and 15 year old Ryan on guitar and vocals, yet perhaps because of the maturity of the vocals in particular, this trio does not come across as a novelty act. Northern Blues has issued the trio’s debut recording, “Pay Me No Mind.” With the exception of the closing rendition of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” all the songs are written by their father, Renaud, who also adds harp to several songs while producer Miles Wilkinson plays rhythm guitar on several tracks. Listening to this disc, one would not guess they were so young, and they sound as accomplished as many bands much older than them. At the same time like many often highly touted recordings, nothing on this recording is striking or compelling. There are several songs that build on a Stevie Ray Vaughn styled power riff and two tracks, including the Hooker classic and ‘Pay Me No Mind,’ are nice workouts in the North Mississippi Hills style. The elder Perry provides typical blues themes in his songs such as the philosophical ‘Who Your Real Friends Are,’ who reveal themselves when you are heading to the bottom, or ‘Voodoo Woman,’ a well worn blues theme. One expects the trio to mature and grow, especially Ryan as a vocalist, who needs to exhibit a bit more of a relaxed or a bit of hesitation to his vocals. That is one aspect of their music that should improve with maturity and experience. One can imagine with the youthful exuberance they must bring to the performances, that they are a terrific live act. It should be noted that they have been booked on encore performances of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, indicating that they put on really good shows.

I will hopefully have an opportunity to see them August 9 when the DC Blues Society presents them at the Surf Club, and I expect to enjoy the live performance more than this album, which is respectable, but not extraordinary.

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