These days, any two-piece, blues-based rock band is compared to the White Stripes instead of the Flat Duo Jets. But American Relay really doesn't sound like either of those bands, though it shares similar roots with the energetically playful jangle of R.L. Burnside and the freewheeling exuberance of Howlin' Wolf and his frequent collaborator, Willie Dixon. While taking the basic sound of the blues and pushing it through loud, distorted guitar and a rock-and-roll sensibility, American Relay (due at 3 Kings Tavern on Saturday, June 20) never seems to lose sight of what made the music significant in the first place. Nick Sullivan and Alex Hebert don't offer the Blues Hammer treatment, but rather a reverence and passion for the art form and its pioneers. On this night, the act will release its followup to 2007's fiery Corn & Oil.
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