Staggerlee Stonebreaker puts a modern twist on the blues. He calls his own music experimental/garage/blues and that seems a pretty fair description. This is rough-edged music, the kind which springs from the darker side of the heart, which may be what makes it all the more real to the listen.
Certainly the soul of Staggerlee is the blues. You can hear the Mississippi running through songs such as Second Coming, yet there is something totally modern in the sound too. Maybe it's the minimalist instrumentation, or the voice which has a sort of 'everyman' quality, that makes it seem so approachable. While it might be those elements for some listeners, the over riding element is the lyrics, which are rawboned, emotionally ladened, and tantalizing. This guy is one of the best poets catching glimpses of our world I have heard in quite some time. At times they have the impact of a car wreck, but you still can't turn away. You quickly become emotionally-vested in this effort.
There are lots of blues CDs out there, and this one comes across as different from almost all of them, and that might be why I find it so compelling. This guy has been able to carve out his own little world in the blues universe, and it is a world you will want to visit. You might not always like what you see and hear on Staggerlee's world, but as you plow through this 14-cut CD, you are likely to find when your done you want to repeatedly take the tour in the future.
The best cuts here are Love Is Not The Answer, the truly experimental New Bedford c. 1847, and the CD's title cut Mesopotamian Blues.
This is fresh, yet dirty blues, and an effort you will be glad you took the time to search out.
Check this one out at www.myspace.mystaggerlee
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Dec. 19, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada