When you hear Big Mike Aguirre play guitar, you know where he's coming from: the East Side, where the blues isn't for tourists, it's for survivors. Aguirre is a young white man from Belleville, Illinois, and he sounds like he's cut his teeth in every working-class juke joint from Brooklyn to Waterloo. A grinding and slashing Stratocaster player, he not only channels the overdrive of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Luther Allison, but also possesses a lyrical acuity that shows how closely he's listened to Keith Richards and Magic Sam. Lately, Aguirre's been working with the Crying Shame house band at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups, unplugging for solo acoustic sets and fronting the funk and rock trio New Rising Sun. Whatever shape his blues take, the sound is scrappy and soulful.
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