Chris Thomas King | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Chris Thomas King

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Louisiana guitarist Chris Thomas King started his career in the late 80s as an acoustic-blues revivalist, though he's also integrated hip-hop into his music--his 2002 album, Dirty South Hip-Hop Blues, merged scratches and sampled beats with guitars and harmonicas. He's back to the acoustic format on his new album, Rise (21st Century Blues), which he recorded after losing his New Orleans home and studio to Katrina. Though the music sounds like soft, unthreatening folk-rock, the lyrics are steely: on the scathing "What Would Jesus Do?" King attacks middle America's complacency about the poor displaced by the hurricane; "Faith" is a politically charged ode to brotherhood and family; and the Celtic-styled "Tis the Last Rose of Summer" is a tribute to his late mother. The whole album is suffused with a deep-blues sensibility: a determination to prevail, laced with outrage at injustice. Guy King opens. a 9:30 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash, 312-427-0333, $15.

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