Jeff Chaz, No Paint (JCP Records)

The seventh track on this album is called “Blues Buffet,” which sounds like either the kind of cruise you might hear Jeff Chaz on or the multitude of blues styles on display within these 10 tracks. It’s actually a neat little lyrical device, however, with which this singer-guitarist lays out everything wrong with his current romance: “Are you warmin’ up a little/ I don’t spend enough time with you” seasoned with a little “You don’t take me out as much as you used to?”

No Paint turns out to be descriptive of not only Chaz’ guitar but also his guitar style, his unvarnished vocal approach, and his stripped-down lyrics, which have the casual simplicity of a stranger bending your ear and his elbow at your favorite dive bar. We learn that “Life is Like Coffee” (“…it never tastes as good as it smells”) and that his woman only gives him “Little Sips” of her love (“…when you gonna mix me a drink?”) 

The man knows his way around a metaphor, which is why he can stick with the standard Texas shuffles and slow Chicago torch blues and still keep things fresh. There are a couple of bookending curveballs, namely the furious closing raveup “Deet Deet Deet” and an opening cover of Tyrone Davis’ “Turn Back the Hands of Time” that replaces seemingly every part of the original’s lush arrangement with that raw guitar: the famous riff, the strings, even the brass section. Or maybe it’s just the force of his dedication creating that effect; reducing the blues to its basic components is just Jeff’s thing. Excuse me, thang.