Chris Thomas King
Blues guitarist and vocalist Chris Thomas King was born into the music business. He toured extensively with his father, Tabby Thomas, when he was a teenager and developed a strong foundation in the roots of the blues. After a couple of albums experimenting with a rap/blues hybrid, King has settled his style firmly in the acoustic blues tradition, a musical form that seems well suited to his abilities. King has a surprisingly light, melodic voice for a bluesman. It has a honeyed charm in the lower registers but tends toward a falsetto when he expands his range. This voice can be an impressive emotional instrument at times, but it also occasionally veers into Peabo Bryson territory, particularly in the annoyingly cloying “Stay Just as You Are.” On such stronger tracks as “Superstitious Blues” and “Bourbon Street Blues,” though, King restrains his saccharine tendencies. The guitar work on Me, My Guitar and the Blues is excellent, with King extrapolating new harmonic material from the traditional blues progressions. The poignant “Like Father, Like Son,” in which King explores his musical heritage, is a forceful example of his strengths as an artist. Alternating heavy blues riffs with some free-flowing harmonica solos, he grants an added emotionalism to an excellent lyric. Likewise, King gives a heavy hip-hop flair to the standard blues number “Born Under a Bad Sign,” breathing new life into an overperformed chestnut.