By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The $64,000 question, one that this town's Billy Peek raised on his first album: Can a white boy play the blues? With a few notable exceptions (this town's Soulard Blues Band being one), no, white boys cannot play the blues. But they can fuck it up quite masterfully, as evidenced by both 20 Miles and Bob Log III.
20 Miles consists of brothers Judah and Donovan Bauer -- the former a guitarist, the latter a drummer. You may know Judah for his work as riff king for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, for whom he provides the rhythmic base beneath Spencer's prancing. Brother Donovan just pounds the drums. Combined, though, the two create a timeless, though skewed, version of the blues that owes nearly everything to the Delta and not much -- save an occasional Howlin' Wolf riff -- to Chicago. The weak link is Judah's voice; he's most definitely not an old black man, and there's little growl in his voice. But he makes up for it on the guitar. The pair's most recent album, I'm a Lucky Guy, is more textured than previous efforts and features a wider palette of emotions.
Bob Log III used to be in the brilliant schizophrenic desert blues band Doo Rag, and he's a wonderful nutcase who makes wonderful nutcase blues. He's one of the most assured and on blues guitarists you'll ever see -- bar none -- and can strike up a rhythm and keep it rolling forever. The two bands record for the Delta blues label Fat Possum, home of R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford and the late Junior Kimbrough, and, despite being members of the inferior race (that's a joke, man), both make some true blues.