Moreland & Arbuckle

Saturday

SXSW Records

Moreland & Arbuckle

Flood (Telarc)

On its label debut, this rock-ribbed blues trio joins the North Mississippi Allstars and Gov't Mule on the quasi-traditional trail. Though its native Kansas isn't a notable hotbed of the genre at this point, there's no escaping the feeling that one of the devil's minions must have been in Wichita when guitarist Aaron Moreland and harpist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle met a decade ago. "I sell my soul," moans Arbuckle on "Before the Flood." The band's take on "Legend on John Henry" adds to the deep Delta feel, and witness the players digging for gold on Little Walter's "Hate to See You Go." The slow drawl of "Your Man Won't Ever Know" is accompanied by the most peculiar weapon in Moreland's arsenal, a four-string cigar-box guitar based on improvised instruments of early 20th century bluesmen. It's always dangerous when young Caucasian dudes decide to trace the path up from the crossroads, but with exception of the draggy "Can't Get Clear," this young band gets away clean. (Sat., 9pm, Opal Divine's.)

***

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