When a musician cites influences as diverse as the poetry of William Blake, the country blues of Sleepy John Estes, and the field recordings of Alan Lomax all in the same breath, you know you're in for something interesting. With all that poetry and roots mixed with jazz, rock, and blues, singer/songwriter/blues harpist Paul Reddick and the Sidemen have created some of the most innovative blues music to come along in some time.
Maybe it's blues Canuck style, since the band hails from the Great White North. But whatever you call it, the Sidemen kick out a driving high-energy brand of blues with enough fire to blister paint off the walls of any honky-tonk from here to east Texas. And if you're looking for another version of "Hoochie Coochie Man" or "Little Red Rooster," forget it. Reddick wrote all the tunes himself on their acclaimed album, Rattlebag, which sounds like Tom Waits if he had been a bluesman and not swamp-buggy man -- all the sharp edges without the barbs. Catch 'em before they head off to Memphis later this month for the W.C. Handy Awards, where they're favored to win for best new artist debut. When Café Nostalgia closed its doors on Miami Beach last week, an era came to an end. The artists and roustabouts dispatched to our shores during the special economic period in Cuba a decade ago are no longer a novelty; no longer in need of a special watering hole to drown their specific sorrows. Still the knowledge that even nostalgia is lost to us now lends poignancy to Boleros Perdidos, the performance slated this Friday night at Café Nostalgia's original site. Love Songs Lost, according to composer and violinist (and New Times art critic) Alfredo Triff, is a journey into the dark, desperate pleasures of the city at night. Fronted by the whispers and smoldering poses of troubador Roberto Poveda, the very soul of dissolution, and backed by a stellar ensemble on keyboards, upright bass, percussion, and black box, Triff orchestrates the encore to nostalgia: melancolía.