BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Back in ye olden tymes, electric blues was a perfect mix of urban and rural – the sound of artists who grew up in the country interpreting the sound of the city. Unlike the majority of its city-bred contemporaries, blues rock trio John the Conqueror strikes the balance perfectly on its second LP The Good Life.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Pierre Moore channels his Mississippi upbringing through the lens of his current Philadelphia home, letting his first-half-of-life reminiscences burn with electric power. Strip the amplifiers from “Golden Rule,” “John Doe” and even the rearrangement of Randy Newman’s “Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield” and you’d have country blues. That’s not to say the band has a formula of reviving early ‘50s Muddy Waters – the trio revels in its rock & roll roots on the strutting “You Don’t Know,” the romping “ Waking Up to You” and the rollicking “Get Em’” [sic]. Best of all, Moore keeps the focus squarely on the songs, letting the riffs carry the melodies; the solos enhance the presentation, rather than form the raison d’etre.
The only thing keeping John the Conqueror from moving up behind the Black Keys’ current position is the lack of that one truly killer track. But given the creative leaps Moore and co. continue to make, that cut can’t be too far in the future.
DOWNLOAD: “Waking Up to You,” “Get Em’,” “Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield”