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John Lee Hooker Jr.

Saturday, February 5, Supreme Court, 303-892-6878; Wednesday, February 9, Little Bear, Evergreen, 303-674-9991.

While his legendary father was forged by the Mississippi Delta, favored one-chord grooves on open-tuned guitars and kept time by constantly stomping his foot, John Lee Hooker Jr. takes a less primitive approach to the blues. Detroit-bred and now residing in Citrus Heights, California, the 52-year-old son of the late Crawlin' King Snake augments his own liquid fretwork and smooth baritone with traces of jazz and R&B, recalling urban bluesmen like Albert King and Buddy Guy. Despite the burdens that come with a daunting genetic legacy, Hooker Jr., a recovering drug and alcohol addict, is steadily making a name for himself. "If I tried to fill my father's shoes," he once said, "I'd get cramps in my feet just trying to take one step." Recently nominated for 2005 Grammy and Handy awards, Blues With a Vengeance pays homage to Pops with a few choice covers ("Boom, Boom," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer") but is dominated by Jr.'s own gritty compositions, which range from the political ("Goin' Down to Baghdad") to the humor-driven ("Blues Ain't Nothin' But a Pimp"). Seems like the apple never falls far from the tree.

 
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