Guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart dedicates his third release Start With the Soul to, among others, the late Thin Lizzy leader Phil Lynott. This isn't just lip service, as you can immediately hear when the opening roar of "Fightin' Hard" comes blaring through. Hart doesn't go out of his way to appeal only to blues followers. He has the natural ability to fuse twangy country, Hendrix, funk, and reggae into his Delta blues style without regard to genres. Start With the Soul is unlike other releases from artists who at the beginning of their career display an acoustic Delta approach only to end up incorporating a very commercial soul sound for the sake of reaching a wider audience or receiving minuscule radio airplay. The choice of cover versions is revealing; Chuck Berry's "Back to Memphis," Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose's 1971 hit "Treat Her Like a Lady," and the Sonics' mid-'60s garage rocker "The Hustler" lose none of the vigor of the originals. Credit should be given to the legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson for capturing the gritty sound critical to this kind of undertaking.
It will be interesting to see where Hart goes with future releases.