Blues Grifter (KiaChia Records)
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., Sept. 28, 2018
Ten years ago, Nakia's debut Water to Wine teased the vocal powerhouse that eventually reached the semifinals of The Voice. Reunited with his Blues Grifters, the 'Bama-raised belter homages ultimate grifters like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones. Unlike the antecedent flirting with soulful ballads, sophomore successor Blues Grifter goes river deep and mountain high as the frontman's gruff baritone marinates in boogie-woogie burner "Hoodoo Party," hot and heavy brass-horned "Ain't That Lovin You Baby," and slinky guitar funk of "Woman Don't Lie." He also supplies additional bite to Jimmy Reed's country-pickin' "Go on to School," opts for big-band sax on the Allman Brothers' lacerated "Whipping Post," and thrusts more heartbreak catharsis in Otis Rush's "Double Trouble." Well-trod territory such as this won't win any contests, but it does lend vital voice to Nakia Reynoso.