Scarlet Runner
@ the Blues Saloon, December 7, 1996
Talk about electricity! This blues/rock power trio from Iowa made its debut Minnesota performance at the Blues Saloon in December...and boy were they cookin'. If you like your blues loud and rockin', along the lines of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Duarte, Buddy Guy and Albert King, you'll love Scarlet Runner.

The band is made up of brothers Jason and Jack Christensen on guitar and bass and Luke Rathe on drums. Jason and Luke are 17 year old seniors in high school and Jack is a mere 15 year old freshman. Don't let the age fool you. These guys can play the blues with a maturity well beyond their years. Jason Christensen is another blistering blues guitar prodigy whose guitar playing can be described in one word -- phenomenal! He also has a soulful blues voice and the group's song writing skills are already evident from the work on their first CD called South Chain Gang.

Messin' With The Kid got the night off on a fine blues note. It was followed with Stevie Ray Vaughan's Pride And Joy and an original Outta Time featuring some Texas blues guitar and a good sounding soul influenced voice. Got A Real Bad Feeling featured outstanding work by the band on a slower blues number. Jason still fired off some sizzling blues riffs that were right on target. Hoochie Coochie Man featured the good humor that the band displayed all night with a very nice rendition of the song and some altered lyrics -- " I'm a man, four years under 21..." It's nice to see these young performers not taking themselves too seriously but still having a respect for the music.

One of the highlights of the night was the two Hendrix numbers Manic Depression and Dylan's All Along The Watchtower. If you had your eyes closed you could almost imagine Jimi Hendrix was in the room playing. He had all the Hendrix flourish -- he has studied well. My son, after hearing Jason play, said he is the Hendrix of the 90's. I don't know if I would go that far but Jason certainly has something special there. Another highlight for me was his version of Freddie King's Hide Away. On Hide Away, Jason had the song stone cold, right down to the Peter Gunn segment. Then he made the song all his own and took it off into the stratosphere with some amazing guitar playing.

Luke and Jack provided a solid rhythm for Jason's fine guitar work. Jason has all the tricks down too... playing behind the neck... with his teeth... behind his back... a walk in the audience...! Recently Jason Christensen won the regional Jimi Hendrix Guitar Competition and will be playing for the national title in Madison Square Garden in April. I have a sneaking suspicion he may walk away with that title hands down.

If you want to see a rising young blues trio and another young guitar prodigy who is on the verge of national acclaim, be sure to show up at the Blues Saloon on February 7, 1997 for their return engagement. You better arrive early if you want a seat.
Keep The Blues Alive!

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