Voo Davis celebrates life and its glorious gut-wrenching aches on his third release, Midnight Mist. The 40-ish Chicago guitarist picked up his Voo nickname early on due to his uncanny ability to play Jimi Hendrix on demand. And, like Hendrix, while Davis ranges well beyond the traditional boundaries of the blues, he never loses the core connection to the genre. This 14-track collection reflects Americana in the broadest sense – blues-based, guitar-driven, melodic short-stories of love, loss, regret, redemption and affirmation. Preferring a live-in-the-studio approach to recording, there is magic in the melding of Hammond B-3 organ, harmonica, bass, drums, occasional congas and Fender Rhodes piano, and always always always that searing, soaring, snakey guitar. But Davis wisely wields his ax – often with slide -- to support the existing melody, enhancing his heartfelt lyrics with a power and subtlety that seems born from a life lived and examined. The story goes that Davis picked up the guitar at age 19 and started performing in public a couple of years later in fairly heady blues circles. He then largely left that world behind, earning a master's degree in education and beginning a teaching career. Then fate intervened, as it so often does, and when his young wife died in 2009, Davis turned toward music, and music composition, to help him find a way to deal with the hole in his soul. Three CDs later, we find him inhabiting the blues in its many incarnations, and we are the richer for it. Think of Joe Cocker's raspy wail, Hendrix's haunting echoes, the pulsating rhythm of every blues performer who's ever lived, combine with the power of your most revered pop guitar god – then blend it into a melodic amalgam and it comes out like Midnight Mist. And while the most accessible track on this very listenable CD is the opener, "When I Get Back to You," the absolute heart of it is the killer anthemic closer, "You Want to Know Why." Weighing in a six-and-a-half minutes (with nary a wasted second), I guarantee this bit of classic rock genius will your hair stand on end. Do yourself a favor and listen to the man. © Fred Kraus Minor 7th July/Aug 2015

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