Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets featuring Sam Myers

Dallas bluesman Anson Funderburgh may not be a household name, but he should be. His debut, Talk to You by Hand, was released in 1981, and no fewer than ten records later, his artistry is like the pitching prowess of Randy Johnson: It just keeps getting better with age.

The title track from his 1999 album, Change in My Pocket, was awarded the W.C. Handy for best song, and Funderburgh's band, the Rockets, has won band-of-the-year Handys three times.

From Blind Lemon Jefferson to T-Bone Walker to the Vaughan brothers, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has long been fertile ground for blues guitar players. But though he grew up in the DFW dives and jukes, Funderburgh claims his influences come more from the Chicago blues style since he gigs with a harmonica player (for the last 16 years, blind Mississippi-bred bluesman Sam Myers has filled that role along with lead vocals). Windy City- or Texas-style, Funderburgh is equally adept at in-the-pocket shuffles, put-a-hurt-on-your-heart ballads and groove-simmering danceable numbers.

Like Albert King, who could kill you with just a couple of notes, Funderburgh leans toward the less-is-more school of blues playing. He solos in the service of the song, never forgets he's part of an ensemble and avoids the histrionics of whoever the latest SRV wannabe is. He knows it all boils down to taste, and he's got that in spades.

His decades of experience are evident in his live performances. Without a doubt he is the consummate blues guitar player, ranking with Jimmie Vaughan and Derek O'Brien as one of the top three practitioners of that art in Texas, and this is a great chance to see him in an intimate setting. Funderburgh doesn't get down to Houston very often because of the worldwide demand for his talents. Plus it's a good way to shake off all that turkey and dressing. Drop the remote, get off that couch, duck out on your in-laws and grab a cold one -- Anson, Sam and the boys are in town.

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Timothy J. O'Brien