Music » Livewire

Popa Chubby

With the Jon Justice Band. Wednesday, June 28, at Wilbert's.

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Blues has always been a regional affair. The Beale Street scene in Memphis was home base for B.B. King. The bad-ass bars of Chicago's South and West sides spawned their own potent and influential varieties. The rule continues in the melting pot of New York City, where a singer-guitarist with the birth name of Ted Horowitz is one of its ambassadors. Horowitz, aka Popa Chubby, brandishes blues with a decided street sense, well aware of the bond between blues and its hip-hop grandchild. Rap choruses show up in Chubby's blues, as has the occasional beatbox or scratch.

Since he's a blues freak who grew up in the '60s, his B.B.-to-Hendrix guitar lexicon might be expected. Chubby's strength and range as a songwriter, however, would be much less predictable. His catalog, expanded by the just-out Stealing the Devil's Guitar, is stocked with soulful scorchers and burns on Bush & company that would make Steve Earle smile. Stack on top of that some of the best blue-eyed vocals in the blues-rock universe, and you've got talent to match his growing fame.

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