background image The Band

 

A blues band from Greece?

Could musicians from the land of Aristotle and Socrates get what Muddy and the Wolf were puttin' down?The 12 tracks on this disc shattered my preconceptions and were nothing short of mesmerizing.

Crossroad Ritual sounds like a collaboration between Tom Waits and Robert Johnson, recorded at 3 A.M. on a hot summer night.

"The Blues That 's Callin", a haunting track that features a sparse arrangement of simply vocal, harmonica and cowbell sets the tone for the CD. Vocalist Paul Karapiperis can sound downright scary, lending credence to the Waits comparisons.

Things get even more hypnotic with the slow blues groove of "Cold in Hand and Lonesome" and the jazz-on-acid feel of "Up and Down".

What you 'll hear from Small Blues Trap is not your average 12-bar Chicago blues. Recall John Lee Hooker's stark foot tapping a la "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" and you 'll be halfway there.

The feel is such that the title to slow burner "Your Mother Told You That I Play The Devil 's Music" seems all the more credible.

The vibe continues with standouts like the driving "The Rusty Train" and instrumentals "Rememberin' Peter" and "Hoodoo & Gris Gris" (featuring reverbed harmonica through a wah-wah pedal).

Small Blues Trap proves on Crossroad Ritual that the blues is a universal language, albeit a language with many different dialects. This band takes musical elements such as Delta blues and smooth jazz and weaves them into their own slightly off-kilter hypnotic sound.

If you 're an open-minded blues fan, you 'll dig this. Turn the lights down low, close your eyes, and lose yourself in this one.

Mark Uricheck