Corey Harris Downhome Sophisticate

Corey Harris is the new blood of the blues. Bearing testament to the teachings of the traditionalists, Harris is a truly impassioned original who's intent on blazing his own trail as he represents his time, his way. Downhome Sophisticate finds him miles away from the acoustic blues of his first two releases, getting back to the advanced business showcased on 1999's Greens From The Garden that so expertly distinguished him from the pack. Yet this represents a huge leap forward, as Harris reveals roots so deep and rich that the terms barely covers his multi-genre borrowings - reggae, blues, funk, gospel, rock, hip-hop, samba and soul. This trip utilises bottleneck and slide guitar in equal parts to percussion, background vocals and horns, as his band demonstrates a frightening ability to authentically document his every whim. Yet the overall takeaway is blues - from the stunning "Where The Yellow Cross The Dog" to the "Baby, Please Don't Go"-sounding "Money On My Mind," then, out of left field, the hauntingly beautiful "Santora," which defies pigeonholing, I'm sure to Harris' delight. This release is bound to confuse at first, but sticking with it will reveal a huge talent that can't afford to limit himself so soon in his promising career. Aptly titled. (Rounder)