What do you think of when you hear the name Chris Cain?
From the minute Chris Cain’s new Raisin’ Cain release starts playing, “Underrated!” is what comes to mind. I 100% concur with what artists like Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, and others have been saying for decades, Chris Cain is one of the most underrated blues artists alive. Not just as a guitar player, but also as a vocalist. The tone of his playing (in his hands) and the soulfulness of his voice is better than ever. Words quickly come to mind like classic, sophisticated, soulful, and virtuoso. All of these descriptions may seem cliché, but they are accurate descriptions of Cain. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with him, stylistically he has elements of his heroes, B.B. King, Albert King, Albert Collins, Wes Montgomery, and many more. He seamlessly combines blues, jazz, funk, and soul to create what arguably is the best release of his career.
Chris teamed up again with Kid Anderson in the Producer’s role (Elvin Bishop, Sugaray Rayford, Tommy Castro), and recorded at Kid’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose. Chris enlisted his road-tested band to round out the core musicians on his latest release – Steve Evans on bass, Greg Rahn on keys, Sky Garcia and D’mar Martin on drums. This gives the release the live feel and tightness often needed to help capture the emotion in a studio performance. What you get is a well written, well performed, and well produced release.
The release starts off with a tongue-and-cheek song called “Hush Money”, which almost instantly sets the bar for the release and lets the listener know what they are in for. He continues on with tracks “You Won’t Have a Problem” and “Too Many Problems” which continue to show the diversity and talent of Cain as an artist. The fourth track “Down on the Ground” is a slow blues gem that finally lets the listener catch their breath and ease into the track. By the time the song ends you’re hooked and waiting to hear what’s next. “I Believe I Got off Cheap” is the lead single and a contemporary blues number reminiscent of the late Lucky Peterson.
“Born to Play” is an autobiographical song, that captures Cain’s vocal intensity and nuances that have often gained comparisons to B.B. King. Just like B.B.’s voice, Cain’s voice seems to get better with age, and along with his playing is the perfect vehicle to take the listener on a music journey. “I Don’t Know Exactly What’s Wrong with My Baby” and “Out of My Head” are sophisticated tracks that are a nod to his Jazz improvisation training from his earlier years and once again make the case for how under-rated Cain is as an artist. The release ends with the instrumental track “Space Force” where Cain stretches his wings shows the listener yet another side of his ability.
Raisin’ Cain is Cain’s 15th release and his debut for Alligator Records. Hopefully, with this new alliance, Bruce and the team at Alligator can finally give Cain the promotional support he needs and deserves to help take his career to the next level. Raisin’ Cain will be in my heavy rotation playlist for some time. This is a great release, but what’s even more exciting to me, is I can’t wait to hear what he does next! I feel Cain is getting better with age and is on the verge of making the best music of his career.
Chris is currently nominated for two 2021 Blues Foundation Awards, “Best Contemporary Blues Artist” and “Best Blues Guitarist”.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– You Won’t Have A Problem
– Too Many Problems
– Down on the Ground
– I Believe I Got off Cheap
– Born to Play
The Big Hit
– Down on the Ground