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Resisting that odorous genre of blues-rock takes balls. It's very profitable, mind you, but Converse is big enough to concentrate on other things. Even though sometimes it seems he falls into a blues-rock rut on some of these tunes, a usual blue note or temperedly delivered lyric shines through. Thankfully. And when Converse comes off as what some would consider the quintessential young white guy attempting to sing the blues, the guitarist/ singer injects a modern colloquialism or fusion riff into a tune and betrays his sincerity.

Saying Converse should be either a pure bluesman or a contemporary star is a debate for armchair critics, who have been chewing over this question since white Englanders like Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton started ripping off black Americans like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters 30-some years ago. Today, Jimmy Vaughan and younguns Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang have been immune to the discussion simply because they've chosen to concentrate on making music rather than on busting up roundtables. And you can throw Converse in that latter group, too. His sound says skin color and age don't matter. Which they don't. (Anthony Mariani)

Native Houstonian Vince Converse shines on international debut.
Native Houstonian Vince Converse shines on international debut.

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