Fruteland Jackson is an earnest young bluesman bent on an almost heroically difficult mission: to fuse the cadences, harmonies, and eloquently simple musical stylings of the southern folk-blues tradition to a late-20th-century lyric sensibility without compromising the integrity of either. Jackson's musical vision is still developing: he's capable of fusing disparate traditional influences--ranging from the vaudeville-laced melodicism of Blind Willie McTell to the searing slide of the Robert Johnson-Elmore James lineage--into a pretty coherent whole; sometimes, though, he loses direction and attempts to cover with a twangy, folky humming and strumming that detracts from the blues feel. But like a suburban rock-and-roll band with their souls in a Seattle grunge bar and their instruments on loan from the high school band room, Jackson infuses his music with true belief and an almost desperate sincerity however anomalous he might sometimes seem, there's something about the naked intensity he brings to this material that remains with you long after you you've forgotten any of his technical limitations. Friday, 10 PM, Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood; 465-8005.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.