Omnivore's delight

It would be one thing to make a two-disc set full of blues songs across the ages. That would be really cool and almost impossible to pull off. The Nick Moss Band has done that idea one better: a two-disc set of original songs that move from 40s and 50s jump blues though the psychedelia of the 60s to the soul of the 70s and on into the more modern guitar hero era. And still be true its own sound. Holy smokes.

Nick Moss Band
From the Root to the Fruit 2xCD
(Blue Bella)

The title of the set tells the story. The band illustrates Faulkner's maxim: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." This has been true about music since humans began humming tunes, and the songs here make that entirely clear. Fans of the blues will hear a lot of these pieces and say, "Haven't I heard that one before?" Not exactly. And that's just one of the points of brilliance here.

This isn't an all-inclusive set. The band sticks always sticks to the boogie side of the blues, even when traveling to Chicago for a spell. The rural acoustic blues are occasionally referenced, but there isn't a song where that sound predominates. That's okay. Twenty-seven songs can hardly be expected to reconstitute the history of the blues. Though this set does do its damnedest.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the set comes at the end. Moss and the band pick up the full weight of the influences parsed through the set and put forth their path forward. Most interesting to me is that the last few songs are as diverse as the rest of the set. They sound modern, but they leave plenty of room to roam.

The blues, like any music, are a living thing. There are a myriad of ways to express oneself through the blues, and this set illustrates the past and gives a hopeful vision of the future. This is a monument, not a memorial, to the blues. A real achievement.

Jon Worley

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