Sam Rey is Mark Meaux of the Bluerunners’ latest deep-dig into Cajun blues essence via sample beats and exceptional songcraft. Inspired by Junior Kimbrough, Clifton Chenier and modern technology, Meaux and Willie Golden sketched out a number of song ideas and roughs at Golden’s Houston home. Prolific producer/engineer Ivan Klisanin (two Grammy nominations and props from Elvis Costello, etc.) worked long hours with Meaux to flesh out sketches into full songs. Klisanin’s superb musical instincts are matched only by his engineering skill, which brings forth a staggering variety of sounds on a six-song EP.
Lap steel virtuoso Willie Golden contributes beats, grooves and one haunting African-esque banjo line on “Satellites” that will stay in your head long after the disc stops spinning. His steel playing is precise, eloquent and dirty. “Pink It Up” plunges down into one chord, deep blues territory, dark and haunting. Golden’s steel burns like an all night campfire with spiral swirls of distorted screams and wails, and it’s all painfully satisfying.
The sounds are there for Meaux’s songs, though. “Everything” opens with a funk groove and riffs on devotion, both emotional and carnal: “kiss on your throat / undo the buttons on your coat, then we’ll figure it out.” The Leslie roto-effect on the vocals only adds to the fun. Meaux’s hooks are infectious and his lyrics are cinematic and imaginative. Think of him as the Cajun John Lennon; his ideas and sensibility are no less far-out, even if they come from down the bayou.