Mato Nanji is enough of a blues-guitar monster to play it exclusively. Easily one of the top-tier players of the post-Hendrix/Stevie Ray Vaughan school, this son of the Nakota Sioux Indian nation could forever make his rent blowing the crowd away, knocking down straight blues choruses on the bar and festival circuit. Fronting his family outfit, Indigenous, Nanji cuts a wider swath, fusing the blues roots to his own.
A good many new-breed blues-burners reserve the right to venture beyond the 12-bar limit. Alongside Nanji's blues-bound journeys are soulful ballads that trek across emotional badlands, sounding distinctly solitary in spirit -- even with sister and drummer Wanbidi's vocal harmonies. They conjure a realm more dusky and primal than that of your average Americana. This lone-wolf persona also serves Nanji well with the blues, energizing that well-traveled path with a decidedly ethnic soulfulness.
Currently a trio, with brother on bass, the South Dakota band's first disc caught the attention of Indigo Girl Amy Ray, landing it a slot on the Honor the Earth benefit CD. The band rubbed shoulders with numerous guitar greats as a member of the 1998 B.B. King Blues Tour. Its current EP, Long Way Home, is its seventh release and is just long enough to make you want more.