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Wednesday, August 21, 2002

The Blue

Posted By on Wed, Aug 21, 2002 at 12:00 AM

As long as Jeff Maylin has been around the Detroit blues scene, it’s surprising that The Blue is his first solo project. It seems everybody who knows more than a couple tunes has a photo and a CD to pass out these days, so what gives?

Sometimes the better things in life take a little time to accomplish.

With a few welcome exceptions, Maylin’s songs — he wrote all but one — represent the sort of spare, raw, electric boogified/rockified blues that he has been known to do so well. Supported by a thumpin’ rhythm section that includes some special guest appearances by drummer Milton “Heavyfoot” Austin and Brothers Groove guitarist Erik Gustafson, Maylin’s rough-edged finger-style guitar playing and equally rough vocals cut like a ragged blade through worn fabric.

One of the hardest things for performers can be to translate their live essence onto a recording. Some will overcompensate and wind up sounding nothing like what the fans would recognize. Some others manage to maintain their basic sound but lose the spontaneity and spark that breathes the life and fire into the notes. Fear of making even the tiniest mistake can turn a well-intentioned CD project into an experience in sterility.

Maylin, in true Maylin fashion, demonstrates no fear of charging straight ahead. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable CD that will please old fans and newcomers alike.

E-mail Keith Owens at letters@metrotimes.com.

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