Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Guy Davis prefaced his lightning-fast opening number at The Linda by saying, “I’ve stolen so much, this song doesn’t even have a title!” And even if he hadn’t name-checked Charlie Patton and Blind Willie McTell after it was all over, the SRO crowd could easily hear about 100 years of the blues coursing through Davis’ acoustic 12-string guitar, right down to the off-time beat that recalled Robert Johnson’s original version of “Crossroads.” But as Davis says he tells his students, “It’s okay to steal music – but once you steal it, you have to earn it!”
Davis definitely earns his keep. A scholar of the blues who once paid the rent as a cast member of the soap opera “One Life to Live,” Davis pays mad respect to all those who came before him by mixing their sounds into his music – that’s when he’s not breathing shining life into some of the genre’s many touchstones with either his 12-string, his six-string (which had a rose stuck in the tuning pegs) or his banjo. That last instrument might raise an eyebrow or two; it certainly did for the English music critic Davis lampooned in one of his hilarious pre-song raps. But when Davis laid a chugging take on Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied” on us, I swear I could hear a freight train whistling by.