Lonesome Onry and Mean

Lonesome Onry and Mean Gets John Nemeth's Blues

Most new blues records bore the shit out of Lonesome, Onry and Mean. A recent example is Paul Jones' Starting All Over Again, which, in spite of some tasty picking by Eric Clapton and world-class production, just sounds like a warmed-over cliché. I have no idea why the world needs this record.

But once in a while we slip in a record by an unknown (to us) artist, and something jerks the synapses around and slaps us up side the head. John Nemeth's Love Me Tonight (Blind Pig) had just that effect. Nemeth looks like a young guy in training to join the Fabulous Thunderbirds, a tie-wearing blues hipster. But he's both a stellar lyricist and stout vocalist, and his tasty harp recalls Junior Wells and James Cotton.

Whether he's raving up with boogie-loaded hard-chargers like "Love Me Tonight" and "Where You Been" or the soulful "My Troubled Mind," Nemeth's songs are laced with wish-I'd-said-that lines that just ring so true:

"I need time to meditate

Or self medicate

My broken heart

And my troubled mind"

Other than a guest slot by Elvin Bishop on a couple of the tunes, this is just Nemeth and his band rocking the blues real hard. Really hard and really true, like James Hunter with a bit more edge.

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William Michael Smith