Home of the Live Music Calendar Follow STLBlues on Twitter Follow STLBlues on Facebook Home of the Live Music Calendar Live Music Is Better, Book It Here!! Live music is better, book yours now!

Electro-Fi 3401

by Eric Steiner

Fruteland Jackson’s latest release on Toronto’s Electro-Fi label, Tell Me What You Say, was one of my favorite releases of 2007. There have been quite a number of recent blues CDs that have set the bar high for any new traditional or acoustic blues CD, and I’m pleased to add Fruteland’s work to my CD shelf alongside Blues Music Award-winners Bobby Rush and Paul Oscher’s Down in the Delta. Rush’s Raw is Mississippi blues stripped down to its bare essentials, as is Oscher’s Down in the Delta.

Unlike those two blues giants, however, Fruteland hasn’t picked up the hardware as a performer. He was nominated in two categories this year: Best Acoustic Artist and Best Acoustic Album. However, the Blues Foundation recognized Fruteland’s work in blues education with a Keeping the Blues Alive award in 1997, and he also received an Ethnic Heritage Award from the Illinois Arts Council that same year. Tell Me What You Say includes Fruteland’s gift as a storyteller as he introduces “A Gambler’s View” and “My Grandfather’s Blues (He Came Up the Hard Way).” Fruteland’s web site includes Blues in the Schools curricula, song snippets, and additional background from this Chicago-area bluesman based in Northern Indiana. This year, Fruteland’s been a regular at Buddy Guy’s Legends, international blues festivals, and Junior’s Sports Bar, and I look forward to learning more about his work with Blues in the Schools programs at www.fruteland.com.

My favorites on Tell Me What You Say include “It’s All Good,” “A Gambler’s View,” and “Blues Over Baghdad.” Corky Siegel considers this song a contemporary “Strange Fruit,” and when I hear Kevin Fox’ cello inform each verse with melancholy, this comparison is right-on. There are quite a few upbeat numbers, too, on Tell Me What You Say, including a jaunty “You Are My Sunshine” and “It’s All Good.” I consider Tell Me What You Say required listening for fans of authentic acoustic blues.

Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society (www.wablues.org) and a Blues Supporter member of The Blues Foundation (www.blues.org).

The STLBluesometer
Enjoy our Blues reviews
STLBlues CD Reviews :: By band/artist first name
St. Louis based bands & musicians
More National Bands
 Live Music Calendar | Send Blues News | © STLBlues 2000 | Privacy Policy