Hart is part of a revival of rural blues among young African-American guitarists. Born in Oakland, he lived in Los Angeles, Ohio and Chicago while growing up, but his musical and psychological roots are in Carroll County, Miss., where his family is from.
Equally skilled at 6- and 12-string, tenor and steel-bodied guitars, Hart is a repository of ancient black storytelling and a gifted contemporary composer. His repertoire includes the music of early-twentieth-century black string bands and Mexican waltzes, but his primary area of expertise is Mississippi blues of the Son House and Robert Johnson variety.
After listening to about two minutes of the opening track "Tallacatcha," a Choctaw word that means "river of pearl," this writer had the biggest smile on his face. His guitar playing, all fingerpicked, conveys the sense of a lost treasure rediscovered. Traces of Mississippi Sheiks, Charley Patton, Leadbelly, Lydia Mendoza and Leo Kottke can be heard in Hart's playing.
Sitting in with Hart on this 11-track CD is Brian Godchaux on fiddle, Chris Seibert on piano, Bill MacBeath on bass, Josh Jones on congas/percussion, Pete Sears on accordion, Barry Lowenthal on drums, Marty Wehner on trombone, Jules Broussard on tenor and alto saxophone and Bill Ortiz on trumpet.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.