The Austin Chronicle

I Am the Exceptional Drought

By Jim Caligiuri, August 3, 2011, 1:19pm, Earache!

I haven’t been to the Cactus Café much since Griff Luneburg stopped working there. In all honesty, I wasn’t going there much in Griff’s final days either. What I saw as an overly repetitive booking policy has now morphed into one of acts that I don’t really care to see. Tomorrow night I’ll gladly return for Ray Bonneville though.

Originally from Canada, the modern bluesman has settled here in Central Texas and been spotted at quite a few other musicians’ gigs. I love it when local musicians show that kind of support for one another.

Bonneville's sure to share some new tunes at the Cactus since he’s readying the release of Bad Man’s Blood on A-list folk/roots indie label Red House at the end of the month. Follow-up to the highly praised Goin’ By Feel, a Gurf Morlix production from 2007, the new disc combines Bonneville's bluesy Americana with some melancholy storytelling that comes off like Guy Clark or Jesse Winchester.

Morlix is on board again for Bad Man’s Blood, this time serving as a guitar foil. With Bonneville’s own finger-picking, the layers of grit grow exponentially. He offers a sequel of sorts to “I Am the Big Easy,” the award-winning Goin’ By Feel tune, with “Mississippi,” a jump up rave about the rising river. “Good Times,” meanwhile, is a sultry summertime burner.

If you’re feeling low with the relentless heat and “exceptional drought,” a night with Bonneville’s blues could be as redemptive as a dip in Barton Springs.

Ray Bonneville, Aug. 4, 8.30pm, Cactus Cafe, Texas Union, 2247 Guadalupe.

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