Homesick James played alongside the legendary Elmore James for years; his musical roots extend deep into the Delta, maybe even deeper than Elmore’s. He sings with a high-pitched, quavering intensity that recalls old-time field hollers, and even on electric guitar his slide patterns often have the pure-toned starkness of traditional southern acoustic blues. But don’t come looking for a sedate history lesson: when you least expect it, Homesick will fire up the jets and hit you with an onslaught that departs entirely from whatever the band’s laying down. Whatever your personal definition of blues “authenticity” may be, be prepared to have it challenged. Pianist Lovie Lee is a steady-rolling player with an agreeable boogie-woogie orientation who sings in a fruity, deep-chested roar that sometimes approximates the late Big Joe Turner. He’s in command of traditional Chicago styles–he played on and off with Muddy Waters for years–as well as a diverse set of standards from a wide variety of blues and blues-based genres. Saturday, Rosa’s, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.