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Iowa - the new home of Chicago blues?Posted Tuesday, February 8, 2011, at 9:45 AM
That's kind of what happened to James Kinds.
Moving from his birthplace of Drew, Mississippi to the Windy City at the ripe-old-age of 16, it took the guitar-playing Kinds a few decades to mark his mark on the world of the blues.
That mark was made in Dubuque, Iowa, of all places.
Moving to Dubuque in the early 90s, Kinds quickly raised so much of a storm that he was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in 2008.
And all it takes to see why he belongs there is just one quick spin of Love You from the Top, Kinds' newest disc - interestingly enough - released on Chicago's venerable Delmark Records.
Kinds wastes little of our time and gets down to business right away with the soulful title track. Blessed with a vocal delivery that is smooth-as-silk at its core, but coated with a layer of broken glass on top, Kinds' words take on a sense of urgency that nestles right in place with his top-notch guitar playing.
When listening to Love You from the Top, you can't help but wonder what the late, great Magic Sam might be doing if he were still on this earth.
While the comparison between the two is hard to ignore, it's also obvious Kinds is no copycat imitator.
Veteran sax man Eddie Shaw, an amazing artist who did time with the Wolf and Ike Turner, among others, shows up to lend his golden touch on four cuts, helping bring the disc full-circle with its roots.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Love You from the Top is not the way that it sounds and feels like it easily could have hit the streets back in the days when Chicago's legendary blues clubs like Theresa's and Florence's Lounge were open until 4 a.m.
The most impressive thing about Love You from the Top is that Kinds wrote all 15 songs on the disc, proving that well-crafted Chicago blues tunes are still being brought to life in 2011.
Even if they're being birthed in un-blues-like locales such as Dubuque, Iowa.
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Since my own high school sports career fizzled out before it really reached its zenith, I have managed to live vicariously through the student/athletes of the 16 high schools I've covered for Areawide Media since 2001. I've witnessed the highest of highs in the form of state championships. I have also seen first-hand the sting of disappointment when the ultimate prize was within reach, but still eluded the grasp of its pursuer. But through all the ups and downs associated with high school sports, my respect for the young competitors that suit up each night, along with the men and women who guide them, remains unwavering. Blog mission: With my passion for music, especially live music, running second only to my passion for sports, I'll try to devote this space to both. Especially when it concerns our region and what's happening around it. Look for commentary and features on area sports figures and musicians, along with things to get out and do in the beautiful Spring River/Ozarks area. But I'll not totally ignore the outside - I'll also hit on some national happenings in the wide worlds of sports and music.