Preacher Boy was one of the first modern artists to be classified as “Alternative Blues,” and the label continues to apply. For almost a quarter of a century—and across nine albums and counting—Preacher Boy has been both honoring and redefining the country blues tradition through his darkly poetic lyrics, the unmistakeable sound of his National Resophonic slide guitar work, and the raw urgency of his ragged baritone voice.
From his debut release on Blind Pig Records (Preacher Boy and The Natural Blues, 1995) to his 2016 releases, Country Blues and The National Blues (Coast Road Records, 2016), the core Preacher Boy sound has always drawn on powerful roots—vocals that call to mind Blind Willie Johnson and Captain Beefheart, slide guitar and fingerpicking styles that channel the rhythms of Bukka White and the bounce of Mississippi John Hurt, and richly crafted lyrics that have drawn comparisons to the likes of Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, and Tom Waits.
With the release of Estate Bottled Blues on December 25th, 2016, Preacher Boy added a remarkable page to his musical legacy. The 16-song release is Preacher Boy’s “lost album” found—the result of a marathon writing & recording session that produced some of the most emotional, layered, and powerful songs in the Preacher Boy canon. The collection literally defies genre:
“Melancholy, isolated, alternative folk-blues, bridging the gap between Townes Van Zandt, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Skip James (if Skip James had a voice like Blind Willie McTell). A buried treasure of a ‘lost album’ lying somewhere between The Devil’s Buttermilk and Demanding to Be Next.” —Greg Lonesome, Host, Rock N’ Roll Manifesto
Throughout his career Preacher Boy has defied easy categorization, while at the same time racking up accolades from the likes of Rolling Stone, Blues Revue, Sing Out and more. The music press has had a field day over the years coming up with ways to describe Preacher Boy’s singular sound:
“Preacher Boy is somewhat like Keb’ Mo’ in his jazzing up of Delta blues styles, but with a more contemporary sound akin to Kelly Joe Phelps or Chris Whitley. The best cuts highlight his wonderful work on National Steel.” -Rolling Stone
“Preacher Boy might be a young white boy singing the blues, but think Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart more than Led Zeppelin and Bad Company, and throw in some Townes Van Zandt and Gillian Welch as well. -All-Music Guide
“Country blues that marry Nick Cave, Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie and Tom Waits, honeymoon in the barroom with accordions and banjos and line the wedding bed with sheets of mutant folk, deviant campfire country and beatnik jazz.” -Melody Maker
The UK’s legendary MOJO magazine may have said it best when they wrote simply that, “Preacher Boy is a songwriter of startling originality.”
Preacher Boy’s newest release is Estate Bottled Blues.