Generally, Corey Harris is regarded as a bluesman. In that the 40-year-old singer/guitarist/songwriter has released a wealth of blues and blues-inflected music in his 14-year recording career, that’s an understandable assumption. But Harris has long spiced his eclectic brand of blues with musical flavors from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, New Orleans and elsewhere. His 1999 release Greens From the Garden ranged across a variety of styles and even dabbled in hip-hop, while 2007′s Zion Crossroads was richly suffused with a reggae vibe. Now comes the Colorado native’s ninth release overall and second for the Telarc label, Blu.Black, a collection of 13 blues- and reggae-flavored originals complemented by one Burning Spear cover.
“I always deal with Africa and the blues and roots on my records,” Harris says. “Those have been my primary themes throughout most of my career. On this record, I wanted to express my love for great black music, and demonstrate that love in original song form. It’s the same goal I’ve been pursuing for some time – to make original music and try to educate people in the process.”
All of the songs on Blu.Black, Harris says, add up to a cogent whole. “The story I want to tell is that we who have had the experience of coming from parents who came from the south, whose parents were poor and the children of slaves – we can take this music and make something new with it. The story isn’t finished. There are still places where it can move forward. There are still things that can be accomplished.”