Amazing recording meant to be in any respectable music collection, must have definitively, one of the best composers in this modern age. For many of the fans of Wim Mertens, one of the first things we did upon discovering the Internet was to search for him. I spent years unsuccessfully looking for his CDs in stores and catalogs before going online in 96, and was most gratified to find that I could now acquire them. And I have. His fans in the US are few but fierce, and releases like A Man Of No Fortune, And With A Name To Come, explain that ferocity.
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter John Campbell had the potential of turning a whole new generation of people onto the blues in the 1990s, much the same way Stevie Ray Vaughan did in the '80s. His vocals were so powerful and his guitar playing so fiery, you couldn't help but stop what you were doing and pay attention to what you were hearing. But unfortunately, because of frail health and a rough European tour, he suffered a heart attack in his sleep on June 13, 1993, at the age of 41. In 1985, after playing a variety of clubs between east Texas and New Orleans, Campbell moved to New York. One night in New York, guitarist Ronnie Earl happened upon Campbell in a club, playing with Johnny Littlejohn. Earl was so impressed that he offered to produce an album by Campbell, and the result was A Man and His Blues (Crosscut 1019), a Germany-only release that has since been made available in the U.S.
Given the backwoods surrealism and shifting musical textures of most of his work, Jim White is not a guy who often comes off as playful or joyous, but those are two words that easily describe White's collaboration with the Athens, Georgia roots band the Packway Handle Band, 2014's Take It Like a Man. White and the Packway Handle Band are mutual admirers, and when White stepped in to produce an album for the group, he brought along a set of bluegrass-influenced tunes he'd written. The project turned into a co-starring effort, and the meet-up brings out the best in all parties concerned.