The death of political Scud Lee Atwater wasn’t just a loss for the Republicans, it turns out; an even bigger blow was suffered by the blues–at least according to the New Republic: “On the side, Lee played rhythm and blues guitar, and did it well enough to hold his own with the best,” writes noted musicologist Sidney Blumenthal. What a twelvemonth it’s been for the music: first Stevie Ray, and now Lee. If you need to drown your sorrows or just want to wash a bad taste out of your mouth, a genuine hope for the next generation of blues masters is playing at Buddy Guy’s tonight.

Young and personable guitarist Larry McCray is not entirely grown up yet, musically, but he’s interesting, a bit edgy, and someone to watch. His first record, the nicely titled Ambition, doesn’t try to overwhelm with flash, doesn’t aim to be a tour de force: the sort of ambition he’s talking about seems best furthered via rock-solid high-level blues exposition, whether he’s burning up the place in “Count on Me for Love” or growling through “Nobody Ever Hurt Nobody With the Blues.” The promising record is impressive considering that McCray recorded it in a friend’s basement between shifts at the GM plant in Detroit. McCray wowed ’em at Park West a month or so ago, on a bill with the Kinsey Report and Albert Collins, and did similar business in Austin shortly afterward at the South by Southwest Conference. He plays at 10 tonight at Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; tickets are $7. Call 427-0333 for more info.