Refuse To Lose
Guitarist and singer Jarekus (pronounced juh-REE-kus) Singleton comes by his blues bona fides honestly, as a kid who grew up in Mississippi playing music in the church. Now 30 and making his debut for the iconic Alligator Records, Singleton has strengths that lie in his original songs and lyrics. He's prone to story songs and has a flair for phrasing, calling out a jealous elder bluesman in “Hero” and happily celebrating his wisdom in ditching a bad girlfriend on the comical “Sorry.” He also may be the first blues singer to rhyme “Tweet” and “sleep” (“Blame Game”), but he’s not the first to use such sports analogies as “Refuse to Lose” and “Keep Pushin” (which details his basketball career at Southern Miss and pro tryouts before a career-ending injury). The tunes here come out of the aggressive blues-rock school of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy, but organist James Salone is also a highlight of the flexible band as he preaches with his fingers on tracks like the upbeat “Gonna Let Go” and “Crime Scene” (which also features Singleton’s strongest guitar work). Without a doubt, basketball’s loss is blues music’s gain with this impressive new artist.