Music News

Joe Fornothin

During a 2006 interview with Westword, blues legend Buddy Guy praised John Mayer for introducing his favorite genre to today's listeners. Strange as it might seem, he's got a point — but the problem is, newer blues-inspired acts often wind up sounding more like Mayer than Guy.

Which isn't to say that Joe Fornothin's self-titled EP resembles a 21-minute version of "Your Body Is a Wonderland." With the exception of the sensitivity showcase "Happily Ever After," the four-piece is infinitely more boogie-oriented than Mayer, cranking out the kind of good-time blues rock that crosses over to jam connoisseurs. Fans of the style will also appreciate frontman Tyler Bills's sturdy voice, which keeps the likes of "Rockin' Days" and "Best That's Ever Been" moving forward. Still, the air of hard-won experience that marks the best blues is entirely absent. The fingers fly and the beats slam without leaving anything resembling a permanent mark.

That's the flaw in the Buddy plan.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts