Dave Myers & Kim Wilson | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dave Myers & Kim Wilson 

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Guitarist and bassist Dave Myers was a founding member of the Aces, a band that in the 50s freshened Chicago blues with the swing and harmonic sophistication of jazz. Left to himself, though, he specializes in just the kind of down-home Delta shuffle the Aces helped make commercially obsolete. Lately he's been working closely with a fellow traditionalist, harp blower and former Fabulous Thunderbirds front man Kim Wilson. On Myers's current CD, You Can't Do That (Black Top), the two dig deep into the gutbucket--and come out with a handful of pearls. They recast Lowell Fulson's tender "Reconsider Baby" as a grinding boogie, and Myers's own numbers--the title track, "Ting-a-Ling," "Blues in Mexico"--sound like an after-hours rent party circa 1945: half-borrowed lyrics, a casual approach to intonation, and a nonstop tub-thumping stomp. Wilson owes a debt to pioneering harpists like Little Walter, both Sonny Boy Williamsons, and Big Walter Horton, but his loose, sinewy melodic lines also bring to mind a vintage Texas-style roadhouse saxist like Arnett Cobb. His harp bends and swoops from octave to octave, tubular and sweet one minute and a harsh squall the next. Myers often simply solos straight out of a chord: he lets it ring, plucks its arpeggio, and then follows the spread-out chord like a map, rumbling uphill and back down in time for the 12th-bar turnaround. Friday, 8 PM, and Sunday, 6 PM, 39th Annual University of Chicago Folk Festival of Traditional American Music, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th St.; 773-702-9793 or 773-702-7300. Also this weekend, Wilson will sit in with guitarist Billy Flynn at Smoke Daddy--expect a slicker, more contemporary sound. Friday and Saturday, 10 PM, Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division; 773-772-6656. DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Dave Myers uncredited photo; Kim Wilson photo by Kirk Tuck.


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