If there is a better way to introduce a blues album than by quoting a classic kung fu movie, then somebody write me a letter, because when I think of The Bush League, and this new album, I think of of Enter the Dragon, when Bruce Lee dope-slaps a young student because his kung fu kick lacks “emotional content.”
If there is one thing The Bush League lacks not, it is emotional content. They say you have to live the blues to play the blues, and between these four musicians we've got more ups and downs than the Rocky Mountains. I'll spare you the specifics and the testimonials – you will hear it all in the music.
One thing (perhaps the primary thing) separating the great artists from the good is their mastery of all emotions, and you will find a full spectrum of feeling on this album. You'll find murderous rage, luxurious love, abysmal despair, and unbridled bliss – sometimes in the same song!
The blues, despite what a lot of folks think about it, has never been about the bad times. It's been about the bad times, and the good times, and when they sing about the BAD times, it's so you can have a GOOD time. Howlin' Wolf never sang about “300 Pounds of Morbid Self-Obsession,” he sang about “300 Pounds of JOY.”
I, for one, have found oceans of joy in The Bush League's music, and I know it is their most profound and sincere desire that this album bring joy to your life. There are two ways that this might not happen: number one, you don't like the blues; number two, you are already dead.
Because they have never sounded better, and they have sounded great in the past.
One night in a bar-b-que joint I watched as the band broke out of their usual set with a brand new song, and a bone-deep chill flew straight through my soul. It was the premier of “The Death of Robert,” just one of the great tracks on this album, and as I watched the Bush League served up a hot, steamin' slab of musical righteousness, a choice cut of truth and beauty, a glorious gospel of groove, a song as hot, messy, sticky, greasy, and utterly delicious as the pulled pork on my plate.
Put it on a bun and gobble it up, because great blues is as rare as great bar-b-que, and you are damned lucky to find it.