Fish Ain't Bitin'
Some contemporary blues singers, particularly in acoustic blues, seem to present something second-hand, authentic but not real. But Harris sounds as if he's channeling some down-home back-porch Delta bluesman from way back when. He plays solo on a steel resonator guitar, mostly using slide, except for four cuts where he's joined by a small brass ensemble of two trombones (Keith "Wolf" Anderson and Charles Johnson), tuba (Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacey) and percussion (Harry "Point Man" M. Dennis, Jr.). They add accents and lend a nice old-timey sound to the title song, "High Fever Blues," the jolly instrumental "Clean Rag" and "5-0 Blues," which flawlessly works a contemporary subject into a traditional milieu.
Bassist Chris Severn joins Harris for a few duets, including the beautiful "Mama Got Worried" and the slow, deep "Moosemilk Blues," both Harris originals. I was also impressed by the clean, fast picking on a few cuts where Harris didn't use slide, particularly Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Take Me Back," sung and played with a sweetness that brings to mind Mississippi John Hurt.
Despite the variety of music among the 17 songs, Harris is a steady and consistent presence. I suspect we've just seen the very beginnings of what this immensely talented musician has to offer
-- Jennifer Zogott