The Blues genre is like no other in the sense that every performer of it seems to have some effect on its direction. To clarify, some performers blaze new trails, some perpetuate those trails, and some performers honor the genre, choosing only to interpret what has come before them. Steve Howell isn’t really redefining blues, and he’s not all that interested in what you think of his interpretation of the blues past. What is important to him, and what he is best at, is keeping alive all that is holy about the style and those who have built its foundation. Howell has studied the greats, found those qualities and those songs that absolutely need to be handed down to the next generation and he has recorded them as part of the world’s eternal Blues archive. In doing so, he connects music fans and young musicians with the classic nuances rather than just the classic songs. This creates new appreciations and new relationships between listeners and the founding fathers of the genre. The end result is a new generation of those who will blaze the next set of trails. For that, the Blues owe Steve Howell a debt of gratitude. His acoustic country/blues styling is sweet and comfortable, making his recording an easy listen. Whether in the conscious foreground or the ‘whistle while you work’ background, Howell’s disc is destined to remain in your player for an extended play. He has assembled an A-list of pickers for this project, and spent two years doing so. He’s even summoned an old friend from across the pond for this recording. His renditions of some of the greatest tunes ever penned have garnered him serious respect as a performer and bluesman. His homage to the genre has elevated his work to the rank of ‘must-have’ for any serious historian of the Blues.