Mark May

Call on the Blues

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Not only did Mark May's 1995 debut, Call on the Blues, please blues fans and critics, it earned him a tryout with the Allman Brothers. A mutual friend turned former Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts on to May's album -- and while May didn't get the gig, he did open for the band on a few occasions. Betts was most impressed by May's singing -- and for good reason. Throughout Call on the Blues, May's chameleon-like vocals toy with the color barrier, fluctuating effortlessly between a salty redneck drawl and a silky R&B croon not unlike Robert Cray's. On guitar, he boasts a barbed precision that recalls the late Albert Collins, the sort of full-on command of his instrument -- equal parts raw feel and technical polish -- that can't be fudged. Maybe that's why May has earned the respect of Joe "Guitar" Hughes, a childhood friend of the Collins. Hughes even lent his six-string expertise to Call on the Blues' instrumental tribute to Collins, "Hail to the Iceman."

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