TOUTED as the cosmic American love child of Howlin Wolf and Link Wray, local blues fans can judge for themselves when Alvin Youngblood Hart performs around the country in April.

Dropping his outstanding debut full-length in 1996, Big Mama’S Door, containing such tracks as covers of well-known folk songs like When the Boys Were on the Western Plain and Gallows Pole, Hart has gone on to release a handful of albums to varying levels of acclaim.

Scooping up a Grammy in 2004 for his contribution to the compilation Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster, his most recent solo release, 2005’s self-produced Motivational Speaker saw him strap on a rock guitar. This change of axe was no surprise to his many followers. Strictly adhering to the “no barriers” approach championed by the likes of veteran performers such as Gatemouth Brown and Doug Sahm, Hart continues to delight the masses and also challenge the expectations of so-called blues purists.

Subsequent years have been spent working on soundtracks, accompanying Bo Diddley on his final US tour and forming The South Memphis String Band with Luther Dickinson and Jimbo Mathus.

Alvin Youngblood Hart
11-20 April
Helsinki, Lahti,
Tampere, Turku, Vaasa,
Oulu, Kokkola

Known as a “musician’s musician”, Hart’s praises have been sung by everyone from folk legend Bob Dylan to British guitar luminaries Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor.

James O’Sullivan