Rough Cut

On Rough Cut, vocalist/harmonicist Curtis Salgado is joined by guitarist Alan Hager for a mix of traditional blues and originals. As Salgado explains, “We did it for the love of the music; these are deep songs we love to play.” Hager is a terrific guitarist whose playing brightens every song, and when they get into the blues—look out! His slide work on Muddy Waters’ jaunty “I Can’t Be Satisfied” is the perfect complement to Salgado’s in-the-pocket vocals. Hager’s slide guitar also enhances “You Got to Move,” Elmore James’ bouncy directive to a lazy lover. Salgado’s melancholic harp graces “Too Young to Die,” Sonny Boy Williamson II’s litany of fears about a tough woman: “I’m scared of that child,” he stresses. Salgado essays some relaxed boogie-woogie piano (!) on his “Hell in a Handbasket,” about a guy who never did anything in moderation, and we all know how that’s going to end. The disc’s highlight is his list of wishes song, “I Want My Dog to Live Longer (The Greatest Wish),” and who can argue with that?