Artist: Reverend KM Williams
Album: The Real Deal Blues
Label: Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 10/14/2016
I’m sure I’m not alone in finding my heart sink to the floor when I find yet another album from a “Reverend.” At times, they seem ludicrously prolific, and without doubt there’s an at times cynical attempt by often mediocre musicians who grab the moniker to make themselves appear to be traditional, real deal bluesmen. Luckily for us, with the Reverend KM Williams, we do indeed have pretty much the real deal, and the album title is a true reflection of the contents– all fifteen tracks long.
Williams kicked off as a youngster, picking up licks and feeling from one of modern blues music’s most important past masters, Elmore James. With a background like that already under his substantial belt, KM then went on to develop and hone his musical chops in the southern gospel tradition, steeping himself in the music, its depth and its R&B shaking power.
His fretwork is pretty faultless, and his voice carries a song with rasping power and passion across a few registers and provides ample collateral comfort to his use of one of the more basic of original blues instruments, the Diddley Bow, a single stringed wire strapped to a plank or gourd and rattled with a bottleneck to give that true, raw blues racket often missing in modern hi-tech, studio performance.
The Real Deal Blues is an album partnered by the release of a documentary film of the same name that looks at the history of Texas blues – a legacy that of course includes some true giants: Lightnin’ Hopkins, Blind Lemon Jefferson – and, now, KM Williams himself.