Music » CD Reviews

Loren Connors

Night Through: Singles and Collected Works, 1976-200 (Family Vineyard)


Bluesman is such a loaded term, it hardly needs explaining; its traditionally rigid definition invokes the vivid American caricature of a black man, guitar in hand, bellowing into endless night. If one musician has truly exploded the parameters of the blues, it is Loren MazzaCane Connors.

In fact, his version of the blues compacts the inherent spiritual feeling in drawn-out phrases, akin to the way Jimi Hendrix -- one of his idols -- held notes until they sang themselves. Connors grew up as an Irish-American artist, living sparsely by his guitar while painting. He claims, in the liners compiled by notable historian and folklorist William Ferris, that Mark Rothko is his "biggest influence in all arts"; the brush-stroke physicality of Connors' guitar work bears out the comparison, like Rothko's simple primary-color exercises extended for emotional impact.

The breadth of this three-disc collection of singles and unreleased cuts lends insight into Connors' evolution, from early, derivative reworkings of Robert Johnson to the guitar-tone explorations that later defined his work. According to Jim O'Rourke, Connors isn't trying to be avant-garde; he just loves traditional blues and happens to express it differently.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.