In some forms of meditation, there is a state of enlightenment and bliss in which the vision of a floating blue light centers in the mindâ€™s eye.Â This blue light is thought by some to represent the soul itself, or perhaps the manifestation of consciousness. On Jimbo Mathusâ€™ latest release, an EP called Blue Light, the title track might refer to a run-in with the law and the attendant blue lights in the rearview mirror. But it might just as well refer to an encounter with the transcendental.
Mathus has made a career out of delving into and living within the mythology of the Deep South. Jim Dickinson called him the â€œsinging voice of Huck Finnâ€ and he has proudly carried the moniker of Captain Catfish and the Confederate Buddha as well. With Blue Light, Mathus and just a few compatriots inhabit all the nooks and crannies of that mythical world in just six tracks, squeezing the marrow from the bones of blues, soul and country to brew a stew that carries with it transportational qualities.
Take a strong pull of that brew, and Mathus serves as your redneck shaman spirit guide, dropping down in various places along the space/time continuum to visit roadhouses, juke joints and back roads. The title track is a rollicking incantation lifted by sweet pedal steel sounds, honky tonk piano and a soaring guitar refrain. â€œShackles and Chainsâ€ summons a Staxian groove with its pumping organ riff. â€œFucked Up Worldâ€ is a chugging shuffle of rollinâ€™ and tumblin. Elsewhere, we visit spooky atmospheric soul (â€œAinâ€™t Feeling Itâ€) and plaintive honky tonk pleading (â€œBurn The Honky Tonkâ€). â€œHaunted Johnâ€ is roadhouse romp with a New Orleans setting. With just six tracks, thereâ€™s not a wasted note anywhere or a hint of filler.
Recorded in Water Valley, Miss. and issued on 10â€ blue vinyl as well as digital formats, Blue Light is somehow both raw and refined, and a fun peek into the mind of this mystical musical character known as Jimbo Mathus.
Blue Light is out now on Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum.