Album Review: Chris Belleau – “Knee Deep in the Blues”
Chris Belleau isn’t exaggerating when he titled his latest album Knee Deep in the Blues. The Louisiana-based artist has both feet embedded in the swamp. The humid air can be felt immediately once the album starts playing. There are no artificial flavors here; Belleau is the Real Thing, his soulful, crackling voice steeped in authenticity; his harmonica and Cajun accordion weapons of mass destruction. He was probably even born on the bayou.
On “Angels in the Swamp,” Belleau preaches the Gospel of the blues with the soul-saving transcendence of Stevie Ray Vaughn on a righteous groove. Welcome to the ministry of the blues where sermons are delivered with sizzling guitar solos. Tales of romantic heartburn and wild drinking are blues staples; not using them is like hip-hop without the F-bombs. In that case, “Hole in My Heart” fills that requirement perfectly. “I can’t fill it up with whiskey,” Belleau laments. Indeed.
The locomotive stomp of “Old Train Blues” and a driving, finger-snapping cover of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ 1965 smash “Wooly Bully” are among the essentials on this spirited, engaging release.