A bluesman named Horowitz sounds as unlikely as a wrestler named Goldberg. While Ted Horowitz's stage name, Popa Chubby, may dispense with one preconception, the Bronx-born and -bred guitarist-vocalist-songwriter challenges a number of other musical assumptions as well. Though he's a city boy, a typical Chubby track is as likely to be grounded in traditional country blues as in urban stylings. To the dismay of purists, he's not afraid to toss in a rap chorus or the occasional drum machine or scratches. Chubby's blues rocks more often than it shuffles. He's a veteran of both the N.Y.C. bar circuit and world tours, and his discography sits around the one-dozen mark, many of these for his own label.
When in an electric mode, Chubby's guitar voice crosses generations from B.B. to Jimi. His pugnacious and just-a-bit-tortured vocals evoke those of John Hiatt (pre-family man). And like that of early Hiatt, his is a legitimate white soul voice. "Time Is Killing Me," from his 2001 release How'd a White Boy Get the Blues, qualifies as one of that year's most under-heralded tracks. His most recent disc, The Good, the Bad and the Chubby, conjures up everything from post-September 11 nightmares to Screamin' Jay Hawkins-style high jinks to -- yes, straight-ahead blues work.