Updated: Sep 2
Bai Kamara Jr. & The Voodoo Sniffers nominated for 'Best Acoustic Blues Album' at Blues Blast Music Awards 2020 (USA)
Bai Kamara Jr has by all accounts been held in high esteem by previous reviewers and by the music industry too and listening to 'Salone' it isn't hard to understand why, if you have even a mild interest in blues and even if you don't I would encourage you to check this album out, it is pure, soulful, folksy blues without the fusion with rock that has been associated with Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaghan etc who site Robert Johnson, who famously made a pact with the devil at the Crossroads becoming one of the most revered blues artists of all time, as a primary influence. Bai Kamara is much more like Robert Johnson than any other artist I have heard, he plays "acoustic blues" creating a far more organic sound than I've heard played through an amp on an electric guitar.
Kamara Jr deals with diverse subjects, many everyday hurdles that are relatable to all a great example being "Morning School Run Blues" detailing the plight of a parent trying to get the children to school on time having left the house late and being stuck in traffic, it's well observed, amusing, lyricism. Other tracks deal with more existential problems, as in "Can't Wait Here Too Long". Rail transport has been used as both a metaphor and literally in blues music since it was first recorded and within the first few seconds of "Can't Wait Here Too Long" Kamara addresses a dilemma at his very own cross roads. Back to rail, unlike many of his predecessors, who got on that metaphorical train, Kamara tells us how he missed both the boat and the train, simply, instantly and brilliantly writing a worse and more hopeless scenario than thousands of other blues songs that have gone before. He goes on to detail common frustrations, people of my age at least, have with the modern world, questioning the use of "apps" "free trials" and the lack of a "half-lifetime warranty" on goods.
What is refreshing to hear is lyrics that are not cliched or overly serious, the tales he tells are often amusing singing with total sincerity the line "I ran downstairs, with just my underpants on" when explaining how he grabs his shot-gun to deal with a "Black Widow Spider" in his kitchen that has been tormenting his family.
Despite being a sparse in regards to the number of instruments and the minimalistic approach Kamara embraces, further through the album I hear touches of Senegalese influence, mainly from the rhythm and percussion adding an interesting dimension to the bluesy feel of the album. The Africana influence can be heard in "Cold Cold Love" and is also in "Don't Worry About Me" and "Time Has Come"
'Salone' is a masterful album full of great songwriting, poetic lyrics and is all the better for the sparseness throughout. A standout album, classic and different to anything I have heard in the last ten years. If you like it then place your vote for Bai Kamara via the link at the end of this article. Bai Kamara Jr.’s new album Salone, which was released earlier this year under the project name Bai Kamara Jr. & The Voodoo Sniffers, has been nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award in the category ‘Best Acoustic Blues Album’. The nomination for this prestigious Blues award is an honour and a great achievement for Bai, the only nominee from outside of North America across all categories of this year’s competition. It is also a beautiful sign of international recognition of this particular blues album, which marks a new stage in Kamara Jr.’s career. The 13th annual Blues Blast Music Awards are presented by the US based Blues Blast Magazine, the largest free weekly internet Blues magazine with over 38,000 Blues fan subscribers located in more than 90 countries. Their results are the largest award series where Blues fans from all over the world vote to honour the Best in contemporary Blues music. Online voting is open until September 5, 2020. Fans can support Bai Kamara Jr. by casting their vote at https://baikamarajr.lnk.to/vote.