Jack de Keyser Blues Thing

Jack’s back with his first studio release in five years, following where 2003’s 6 String Lover left off, lacing his raucous brand of bar blues with a healthy serving of blue-eyed soul. De Keyser has long been known for his accomplished songwriting, deft arrangements and distinctive string-bending but his evolution revolves around what is fast becoming his secret weapon: his voice. Elements of funk, R&B and traditional jazz permeate his blues credentials with a degree of confidence that borders on swagger, wholly audible in his playing. Consider the sturdy horn line and potent piano accompaniment across "Music is the Food of Love,” suggesting uptown blues or "If I Had Your Love,” which digs deeper, guitar-wise, as backup singers reinforce the smoothness of his vocals. The title track, however, best demonstrates his signature sound: tough guitar atop polished vocals, perky horns, sold with a somewhat cocky attitude. The album’s best track, "That’s Your Love,” features more guitar, complete with a duel challenging Michael Fonfara’s prominent B3, while the too-true "Bills” celebrates debt on a fun, funky note. Occasionally his voice falters under the load and, at times, the horns can sound forced, yet de Keyser’s Blues Thing is undeniably true and varied, as his definition widens to embrace new influences. (Blue Star)