Didn't It Rain (Deluxe)
Who'd have guessed that the 21st century's most successful popularizer of old-school New Orleans blues would be a British-born TV star? House's Hugh Laurie first showed off his singing and piano skills back in the early '90s while costarring in Jeeves and Wooster, but in 2011 he finally made his full-fledged musical debut with the Joe Henry–produced Crescent City blues homage Let Them Talk. Two years later Laurie dropped the other shoe with a second batch of Big Easy blues; Henry's at the helm again, but some different guest singers pop up to complement Laurie's appealingly weathered growl. Taj Mahal takes the lead for the classic N.O. tune "Vicksburg Blues," with Laurie kicking up a swampy storm behind him on the ivories. Guatemala's Gaby Moreno adds some international spice with her sultry tones on the Spanish/English duet "Kiss of Fire." And while keeping the traditional New Orleans blues flame burning, Laurie isn't afraid to venture into saloon standards ("One for My Baby") or the Dr. John songbook ("Wild Honey") to keep everyone's ears on alert.