Moreland & Arbuckle

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1861 Review

by Scott Yanow

While few would think of Kansas as a center for low-down blues, the rise of Moreland & Arbuckle may change all that. Dustin Arbuckle's powerful vocals and passionate harmonica and Aaron Moreland's passionate and frequently rockish guitar solos sound like they could have come straight from the Delta. Moreland was a rock guitarist until he discovered Son House in 1997 when he was 22, soon burying himself in prewar blues. Arbuckle, when he was 15 in the same year of 1997, heard Elmore James and B.B. King, took up the harmonica and switched his singing to the ferocious side of the blues. Moreland & Arbuckle originally teamed up in their quartet the King Snakes although their inability to hold on to bassists resulted in them forming a trio with drummer Brad Horner. Their third CD, 1861, is named after the year that Kansas joined the Union. While organist Chris Wiser guests on two selections (including the instrumental "Wiser Jam") and bassist Jeffrey Eaton is on one, the other numbers showcase the core trio. The music is mostly originals and serves as a superior showcase for the team of Moreland & Arbuckle, who create their own very impressive style within the blues idiom. Recommended.

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