Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King

Have Blues, Will Travel

After more than 20 years touring the globe as a team, these Texas guitarists have honed their art to the max and on their latest CD—their 14th—they continue to work in the same 12-bar blues format that has held their attention from the beginning. Smokin’ Joe Kubek’s boisterous lead- and slide-guitar stylings are complemented by Bnois King’s subtle jazz-influenced playing and his smooth vocals. Backed up by John Morris (bass) and Adrian March (drums) they rework the classic themes of lost love and hard times with considerable élan. The title track is a good example of their working-man approach to the blues: over a pumping beat King lists a litany of woes that might fell a lesser man: “I lost my job and everything started to unravel, it’s time to get out of town, have blues, will travel.” More blue-collar angst pops up on “Payday in America” with Kubek’s slide guitar cranking it up as King vents his frustration (“God, I hate my job; the last 40 hours I feel like I’ve been robbed.”). You want woman trouble? King’s got it bad as half of the 12 songs deal with problematic relationships. His computer-themed double-entendre “My Space or Yours?” should earn him a Pulitzer Prize. Hottest track: “Out of Body, Out of Mind.”