The elephant in the room has trademarked lips and tongue and speaks with a British accent.
The Best Traditional Blues Albums nominated for Grammy Awards today include “Blue & Lonesome” by the Rolling Stones. Other nominations include Eric Bibb’s timely “Migration Blues,” Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi’s “Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train,” the self-titled “Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio” and Hill Country’s R.L. Boyce’s “Roll And Tumble.”
The nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album are “Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm,” “Recorded Live In Lafayette” by Sonny Landreth, “TajMo” by Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’, “Got Soul” by Robert Randolph & The Family Band and “Live From The Fox Oakland” by the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
The nomination of R.L. Boyce, 62, might be a surprise to people unfamiliar with the hypnotic rhythms of Hill Country Blues, but it is most appropriate to be included in the “Traditional” category. Boyce was directly influenced by Mississippi Fred McDowell.
“Roll and Tumble” is a collection of 2007 recordings from Boyce’s front porch and producer Luther Dickinson’s studio. It include appearances by the late Calvin Jackson, Lightnin Malcolm and Cedric Burnside, the grandson of R.L Burnside.
“That was a magical band of guys who have that feel,” Lightnin Malcom said. “There is nobody like R.L. Boyce. He’s like a pied piper, a magical guy in the Hill Country.
Coming tomorrow: Tahoe Onstage and Blues Festival Guide interview R.L. Boyce about his Grammy nominated album, playing with Mississippi Fred McDowell, Otha Turner and Jess Mae Hemphill (“The meanest woman I’ve ever met.”) and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars’ Luther Dickinson – “He’s got to be great because I trained him.”