Smokin’ Joe Kubek + Bnois King, “Cornbread” from Fat Man’s Shine Parlor (2015)

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There’s a blessedly long list of food-based blues, a sub-genre that rivals sex-based blues for its ability to impishly intrigue. Add Dallas-based Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King’s “Cornbread,” a muscular run through some soul-lifting, heart-stopping country-style delicacies, to that lip-smacking list.

Bnois King is a man of large appetites, with a menu of favorites to match. As Smokin’ Joe Kubek executes a grindingly relentless riff, King barks and growls — fork presumably pounding on the checkered table cloth.

Oh, the Louisiana native makes clear that he’s not interested in hipster conceits like gluten free or vegan. (“Don’t try nothing funny, like giving me a salad!”) Instead, we’re talking red beans, turnips, ham hocks, cabbage, ribs, hog-head cheese. Wait, you’ve never heard of hog-head cheese? “You must have been raised in the city!” Bnois King crows, eliciting another grinding riff from Smokin’ Joe Kubek’s guitar.

What makes this artery-clogging repast complete? The title tells you all you need to know.

“Cornbread,” the second track on Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King’s current Blind Pig release Fat Man’s Shine Parlor, then proceeds to a solo that — rather than attempting to match Kubek’s scalding tone — becomes another of King’s patented low-key, jazz-influenced delights. He plays with a old-school reserve, adding hints of spice to the roux without overpowering its earthy flavors. That combination of heat and sweetness has given Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King it’s balance and tangy power for more than 25 years now.

Oh, and “if you ain’t got no cornbread?” Bnois King muses, dumbstruck by the idea. “Man, that’s just rude!”

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, 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 U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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