Bharath and his Rhythm Four with Junior Watson Friday Night Fatty

Hearing this CD brings two things to mind. One: are there any better interpreters of traditional Chicago-style harmonica blues alive today? Two: it’s amazing but this CD was recorded in 2007. Montreal singer/harp player Bharath Rajakumar has been slowly building a name for himself since the late ’90s. Winning the Toronto Blues Society’s New Talent Search contest in 2004, he took his time before recording this debut. As proof of his street cred, he’s joined by a very special guest, who happened to be a fan of the band, American blues guitarist Junior Watson. Bharath’s harp style is over-amped and wide-open, following the footsteps of Little Walter in particular. A tribute to Walter, the recording beautifully creates the 1950s tone of Chess Records studios. What makes this debut outstanding is Bharath’s ability to expand the harp legacy he so admires with his virtuosic energy and panache. He also has a flair for writing his own tunes. Check out "I Need A Change” and be convinced. (Independent)