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Queen Fareena
Artist:  Kelly Carmichael
Label:   Dogstreet Records

In blues, a good scripture could apply to each generation of artists...."there's nothing new under the sun."    So, if there truly is nothing new in blues, what's the next generation of artists to do, especially since we are so close in time to the greats like Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, and Leadbelly? People are still alive who knew them.   It seems multi-instrumentalist Kelly Charmichael has stumbled on the answer.  Reinvention.   On _Queen Farina_, Carmichael has managed to bring together ragtime, roots country, blues, dixieland, and Cajun into a tribute which honors all styles without losing the essence of any of them individually.   

Charmichael takes his audience on a journey through the heartland of the deep south over the last century.  Along the way, we hear the music of John Hurt on "Rich Woman Blues," a Robert Johnson song put to fiddle, a Cajun guitar rag and the Piedmont blues of Blind Boy Fuller. We also hear strains of Americana music crossing styles on each of the tracks.   There are unique instrumentations like the Dixieland horns alongside a slide resphonic guitar and accordion.  

This integrated approach has rarely been used this successfully.  Los Lobos, The Band and Dylan's Basement Tapes come to mind.   This one is highly recommended for those who love American roots music and are on the look-out for something original and innovative, if not new under the sun.     

Terry Roland


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