And as this gentleman is in the business of making the most visceral blues, this exercise suits him perfectly. Especially as, as the title suggests, Blues in Mono foregrounds the genre's foundations by paying tribute to the acoustic blues, the country blues of the first half of the twentieth century with a collection of covers of songs by masters like Mississippi Fred McDowell (Fred's Worried Blues), Charlie Patton (Moon Going Down), Willie Dixon (My Babe), Mississippi Joe Callicott (Laughing to Keep From Crying), K.C. Douglas (Whisky Headed Woman), Lightnin’ Hopkins (Buddy Brown) and, closer to our times, R.L. Burnside (Goin' Down South and Miss Maybell).
Nevertheless, Steve slips four strong original compositions into the deck, such as Well, Well, Well, which is sure to delight his fans. Deprivation, despoliation, loneliness: there is no artifice here to distort the conversation between him and his guitar, which he carries on in his rough-hewn voice. A back-to-the-roots record, picked up nicely on an old 1940s microphone, just to lend even more authenticity to the proceedings. Raw, brutal, lacking in surprises: but it warms the soul and the heart.