Corey Harris

Friday, April 8, Daniels Hall, Swallow Hill, 303-777-1003.

Colorado is seldom mentioned in blues histories, but perhaps it will be in the future. After all, the state serves as the home base for Otis Taylor and Eddie Turner, who have made some of the genre's best music in recent years, and nurtured Corey Harris, a performer who manages to make the venerable form seem totally contemporary. Beginning in 1995 with Between Midnight and Day, Harris, who left Denver in favor of New Orleans, has reeled off a string of stirring discs, each one more ambitious than the last. On his most recent effort, 2003's Mississippi to Mali, put out by the Rounder imprint, he traces the roots of American blues back to Africa with the assistance of cohort Ali Farka Touré. While the concept flirts with pretentiousness, Harris, who will share the Daniels Hall stage with the Palm Wine Boys, doesn't get bogged down in the academic aspects of his musicological explorations. Instead, he recognizes that the sonic kinship between the styles wouldn't mean anything without passion, and he delivers it in abundance. There's no telling where Colorado fits into this equation, but Harris's achievement provides yet another reason that the state belongs on the blues map.

 
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