“Charlie Patton’s War” Right Here in Clarksdale

Charlie Patton's War at Juke Joint Chapel in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Charlie Patton’s War at Juke Joint Chapel in Clarksdale, Mississippi

By Poor William

(CLARKSDALE, Mississippi) Twas just another serendipitous Sunday night at the Shack Up Inn. My dawg, Joey Young, local artist and Shack Shaker, called and said there was a band named Charlie Patton’s War who was gonna jam a bit. Well, hell yeah, I’ll swing by.

The band’s name was catchy, it was Sunday night, the PBR’s are always cold, the lighting spectacular, the acoustics spot on and the company always a congenial, semi-known.

I usually walk in the eastside entrance and speak to the few or many regulars, while ordering a cheap beer and seein’ what’s up. Even when there are favs like Lightnin’ Malcolm and Stud, Kenny Brown, Bill Abel or a bevy of locals, many who work at the Shacks, jammin’, I always chat a bit at the back of the Juke Joint Chapel before easing up toward the stage to do my hill country blues, white-boy sway! Not tonight…

After hearing only a couple of driving notes from the young band out of Bloomington, Indiana, I immediately took my cherished liquid and plopped down in an easy chair cushioned in 70’s-chic plaid and settled in for a fine Sunday evening of unexpected, mostly original, hill-country-blues-based tunes. These kids were all right! And, between sets they mingled with the audience and even allowed some dudes from Canada to sit in with them and play.[youtube]http://youtu.be/efT3_gdlKNY[/youtube]

Not only did they play the Shacks on Sunday night, but also they played at Bluesberry Café on Monday night, thanks to the gracious invite from Bluesberry’s own house musician, Sean “Bad” Apple. After jammin’ at Bluesberry Cafe, it was back to the Shack Up Inn for some late night tunes. What a blessing to see these guys play three times over two days with no cover at the Shacks and only a $5 cover at Bluesberry Café. And, my oldest daughter joined me for the two gigs the second night, and she and her Old Man both dug ‘em! Clarksdale is insane!

Charlie Patton’s War was formed in 2010 at the University of Indiana, where the four band members met at the university’s Recording Arts program. The band made it bones playing basement gigs at frat parties before moving on to bars, nightspots, and some touring, opening for a Clarksdale favorite, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. CPW also played the Deep Blues Festival, which is moving to the Shack Up Inn from Minnesota in 2014.

The band’s self-titled, self-written, debut album was released in April 2013, and was recorded, mixed and mastered by the band members: Aaron Frazer on vocals and drums, Blake Rhein on vocals and guitar, Kyle Houpt on guitar and Justin Hubler on keyboards and piano.

Charlie Patton's War at Bluesberry Cafe in Clarksdale

Charlie Patton’s War at Bluesberry Cafe in Clarksdale

Although all eleven songs on the album are blues-centric, each one is discrete in its genre specificity. The songs range from authentic Mississippi hill country blues to Delta-style blues to road blues to country and mixed-genres in between. There is even a Memphis sound and a song I would swear Randy Newman wrote.

Both vocalists can sing their asses off, and the band’s old-school sound is as tight as the seal on an unopened beer can. All the lyrics have a depth not often seen among young songwriters. Hubler’s keyboard subtly bolsters each song without overpowering the drum/guitar sound so familiar to hill country blues enthusiasts. As is the case with many blues bands, all the members can play an array of instruments and will switch from song to song.

Though Charlie Patton’s War’s overall sound is refreshingly reminiscent of the Black Keys and Jack White, it’s sound is all its own. Look for these guys to be heading stages at Bonnaroo, Jazz Fest, etc. before long. And, it is likely they will be playing in the area during Juke Joint Festival 2014; the Delta Bohemian will keep you posted. Woohoo!

The purpose of this limited review by someone who knows nothing about reviewing music? Well, to get you to buy the incredible album online for only $5 and to let you know to keep your eyes pealed for an opportunity to hear these guys play! I listen to the album almost every day on the treadmill and it is as fine as a Delta Sunset.

To purchase the album go to: http://charliepattonswar.bandcamp.com, and to book these guys contact their manager, Nicole O’Neal, at [email protected]. And, tell ‘em the Delta Bohemian sent ya, but no worries, we ain’ getting’ a cut off the $5 album. Best $5 Poor William ever spent, along with two PBR’s and a dollar tip! Check ‘em out! pw

Artists Austin Britt, Joey Young and Billy Howell at the Shack Up Inn

Artists Austin Britt, Joey Young and Billy Howell enjoying Charlie Patton’s War at the Shack Up Inn

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