Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne

Rollin' with the Blues Boss

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Born in 1944, Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne is a prime example of how to merge premier old-time boogie-woogie stride piano with a modern and contemporary blues sound, and when he's at his best, it's hard to imagine that his original songs aren't sturdy old traditional classics. On Rollin' with the Blues Boss, his second album with Stony Plain Records, Wayne does what's he's always done, slinging boogie-woogie piano, early R&B, and some New Orleans stride into a thoroughly modern gumbo that transcends time and labels, all while being thoroughly and firmly the blues. Helped by his warm and soulful voice, which shines with sincerity and humor by turns, he hits all the blues corners once again, beginning with the opening track, "Leavin' in the Morning," a stomping blue shuffle that hits all the standard blues motifs without sounding tired and stale. "Hootenanny Boogie-Woogie" is a fun and just a little tongue-in-cheek dance number. "Baby, It Ain't You" is a slow-burning, soulful blues ballad. Then it's back to full-tilt boogie for the wonderful "Two Sides," while "Keep on Rockin'" is a 1950s-styled R&B stomp, and by the set closer, where Wayne rolls out his nimble and unblemished stride piano style for "Out Like a Bullet," it's obvious he has touched nearly every form of modern blues, making it all one somehow, a testament to his talent both as a songwriter and musician. He doesn't break any new ground here, but then again, why would he need to?

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