Chris Belleau – Knee Deep in the Blues (2013)

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Chris Belleau is not just knee deep in the blues. He’s at least that far in on traditional Cajun, and up to his ankles in country. He’s even got a toe in classic mid-1960s rock.

The self-released Knee Deep in the Blues, recorded and mixed primarily in Louisiana, skips like a flat rock across a still bayou through these many genres — mirroring the state’s own bubbling gumbo of musical styles.

The best of Belleau’s originals include the simmering “Let It Go,” which finds the multi-instrumentalist switching with a cool-rocking ease between lead guitar and trombone; the country-fried “Hole in My Heart”; and the bawdy “Knee Deep in the Blues,” sparked by a scorching turn by Belleau on the harp.

Louisiana native David Egan is Belleau’s secret weapon on Knee Deep in the Blues, as the deeply underrated keyboardist contributes two highlights with the co-written “Dance to the Blues with Me” (a slinky call to fun) and “Angels in the Swamp” (a loping groover, in the style of 1970s-era B.B. King).

Belleau also offers a deep-blues take on the Cajun standards “Jolie Blonde,” with a key assist from Bryan Basco in the fiddle and Michael Garner on rubboard; and “Mamou Two-Step,” both of which find Belleau making a seamless switch to accordion.

His rollicking take on the Sir Douglas Quintet’s “She’s About a Mover” is stamped with a rowdy salaciousness — with a key assist from SDQ co-founder Augie Meyers. Belleau even adds a little swamp spice to Sam the Sham’s “Wooly Bully.”

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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