St. Louis is the second home of the blues, so it's not surprising that St. Louisans have the luxury of hearing blues music at nearly every turn. All one has to do is stumble up and down the brick alleyways of Soulard and into a few of any of its clubs to hear five renditions of "Mustang Sally" played on a single Saturday night -- sometimes two renditions by a single band. When asked in a recent survey if they actively seek out the blues in St. Louis, a panel of music-savvy locals suggested that blues cover bands are totally not cool. One participant went so far as to say, "I would never go and see a blues cover band. If there was an original blues band playing in a dirty, smoky bar, I might go to see that."
The majority of local working bands may be playing blues standards to death, but that's no reason to start digging a grave for the blues itself. It becomes apparent that innovating without shaking the foundations of the genre is still possible when one hears the original blues, soul and roots rock of the Patrick Sweany Band. Purists will agree that Sweany and his men accurately portray the heart of each form's charms while creating something completely unique and new. Those purists will also wonder how a 29-year-old white boy from Akron got such a rich, robust, blues sound.
Frederick's Music Lounge is not in Soulard (and isn't dirty), but it can get smoky. This week Sweany (and his band) pop in for a pit stop there while en route to Clarksdale, Mississippi, to record the follow-up to the critically acclaimed henryfordbedroom LP. If you might go out to see some blues this week, the PSB packs enough originality to convince the blues-weariest St. Louisan that the thrill is not necessarily gone.