Paul Geremia,
Love, Murder & Mosquitos
(Red House, 2004)

Only a handful of artists remain dedicated in preserving traditional acoustic country blues in its natural form. One such artist is Paul Geremia, an exceptional singer-songwriter who's a genuine historian of rare, prewar blues classics. His musical career spans nearly four decades, performing in small towns and big cities, traveling the same familiar routes where it all began. Geremia is a blues purist, committed to an all-acoustic approach in authenticating the original styles and sounds of the masters themselves. This veteran of traditional country blues presents these rare blues selections and his original material with infectious enthusiasm.

Love, Murder & Mosquitos is a showcase of Geremia's incredible fingerpicking technique on 12- and 6-string guitar, his expertise on rack harmonica and his expressive vocals. Love, Murder & Mosquitos contains 18 tracks of artistic genius, actually covering all three subjects. At first glance, this latest effort may appear a bit tiresome until pushing the play button. That's when you soon discover Love, Murder & Mosquitos to be a lively, spirited recording with Geremia adding a little fun to the mix.

"New Bully in Town" talks about all types of bullies in life, even making a few political jabs. "Mosquito Moan" finds Geremia expressing his displeasure with these little pests. You'll hear him trying to swat at one, with a sudden "Ouch!" On a serious note, "Evil World Blues" touches upon the homeless issue, his deep vocal lament with bluesy fiddle adding to the message. Geremia's distinctive fingerpicking will amaze you on his version of Blind Blakes' "Tootie Blues" and Charlie Patton's "Pony Blues" as he glides up and down the fretboard like an ice skater. He pays tribute to his close friend Dave Van Ronk on "Bad Dream Blues," a Van Ronk tune recorded back in the 1960s.

Love, Murder & Mosquitos was long in arriving, but well worth the wait. This brilliant recording of prewar blues and original work is backed by fiddle, mandolin, string bass and banjo. Each track touches a wealth of emotion with amazing musicianship. The pure energy emerging from this latest release is strictly all Geremia, giving us his very best.

- Rambles
written by Pamela L. Dow
published 18 September 2004

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