If you’re wondering where the cutting edge of the blues is, look no further than the next Cannibal Ramblers gig. I caught the Boston area debut for this Providence RI trio last month at the Plough and Stars in Cambridge and it was awesome. If you haven't heard this band, you gotta check 'em out! The lineup consists of Mark Milloff on guitar and vocals, Erik Jerominek on bass, and Kyle Anderson on drums. The rhythm section of Kyle and Erik is the jazziest, most unpredictable and just plain best in New England. Add to them the primal shouting and slashing slide guitar of the tall, white-bearded Mark Milloff, and you've got the most unique blues band out there today. These guys mix their own original tunes in with their thorough re-workings of Delta-era classics making for a very enjoyable and totally exhilarating night of music. The rhythms shift, speed up, and slow down; the dynamic drifts down to a whisper then explodes with joyous abandon - often all in the same song! They absolutely lit the place up and are already scheduled to return.
This past Friday I caught ‘em again, on their home turf at Nick a Nees in Providence. ( I love Nick a Nees!) This time, the core trio was augmented by second guitarist Marlie Wanseth and blues harpist Bryan Minto. They both added color to an already great band without overpowering or “getting in the way.” When musicians are this comfortable with the medium, they don’t have to know the songs or know what’s gonna happen next. They just gel. With all the “jamming” going on, it never got noodly or indulgent; the music remained funky and infectious. By the last half of their set, the owner of the establishment was dancing on the bar and several patrons were dancing on stage with the musicians; the party vibe was in full effect! I’ve seen these guys several times now and can safely call them my favorite New England area blues band. Seek them out and catch a show, you’ll never go back to the same old blues again!