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Savannah Music Festival Review: Heritage Blues Orchestra/Jarekus Singleton

PERHAPS one of SMF's best qualities is the tie between historic American genre and tradition and those who push their boundaries. A bill featuring Heritage Blues Orchestra and Jarekus Singleton was the perfect example.

Heritage Blues Orchestra’s name speaks for itself: the five-piece is a blend of oral tradition, Delta blues, and unrivaled musical chops. While the majority of the band stayed seated, they rocked the house in a way few can, riling up the crowd with inspiring numbers like “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down.” The soulful ease to Junior Mack and Bill Sims Jr.’s guitar playing, and incredible power to Chaney Sims’ vocals, captivated the crowd.

Jarekus Singleton closed out the night. When we talked with the Mississippi guitarist last week, he cited the blues greats, as well as shredders like Jimi Hendrix, as influences: it shows.

With an energetic bassist and drummer, Singleton is a dynamic player, employing finger-tapping and a kind of loose precision that surprised the crowd with each number.

He may be young in the blues game, but Singleton knows what the great American genre’s all about: look no further than “Gonna Let Go,” which relishes the simple-but-very-real joy of having the bills paid off, gas in the car, and a little bit left over to spend on someone special.