Blues Bytes


June 2008

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Homemade Jamz Blues Band
Pay Me No Mind
NorthernBlues Records

Homemade Jamz Blues Band

Blues fans who think the genre might be on its last legs would do well to check out the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. The Tupelo, MS group consists of the Perry siblings, singer/guitarist Ryan (16 years old), bassist Kyle (13 years old) and 9-year-old drummer Taya. When their father, Renaud, returned to Germany from military duty in Korea, young Ryan found his dad’s guitar and wanted it. Within a week, he was playing along to commercials on TV. Upon his family’s return to Tupelo, Ryan embraced the blues, soon to be followed by his younger brother and sister.

An audition at Clarksdale’s Ground Zero Blues Club eventually led to further club and festival dates, appearances in local newspapers, magazines, and on TV. In 2007, as the youngest band ever to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, they finished second in a field of 157 bands. The band signed with NorthernBlues Music and has released their debut recording, Pay Me No Mind.

The disc was recorded in the band’s home in Tupelo, and features compositions written for the group by Renaud Perry (the lone cover is an energetic remake of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom”). The songs are well-crafted and mature, considering the voice belongs to a teenager. Some of the highlight tracks include the lively opener, “Who Your Real Friends Are,” the SRV-like “Voodoo Woman,” “Right Thang, Wrong Woman,” “Blues Concerto,” and the muscular title track.

Listening to Ryan Perry’s playing, it’s obvious that, like scores of others before him, he’s learned a lot from listening to the masters since there’s a lot of the Kings (Albert & B.B.) in his playing, as well as SRV. However, he’s already capable of expanding on that sound considerably, which is impressive. The young rhythm section is solid, too, with very few missteps. Other than four appearances by dad Renaud on harmonica and producer Miles Wilkinson on rhythm guitar, it’s all on the trio, who play with loads of energy, confidence, and determination

Stay tuned for big things from the Perrys over the next few years. Sounds like the blues could be in good hands for a long time to come.

--- Graham Clarke

Every now and then a CD comes along that just blows you away, for one reason or another. Pay Me No Mind, from the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, is one of them, and for lots of reasons. When this CD arrived, I put it on without really looking at the cover – just a cursory glance. Halfway through track one I knew I liked it, and by halfway through track two I knew it was special.

I didn’t realize just how special until I read the notes and found out that the three main band members are two brothers and a sister – 9, 13 & 15 years old! The 9-year-old is a girl and she’s the drummer! Her 13-year-old brother is the bass player, and her other brother takes lead guitar and vocals. Oh, and their Dad writes the songs and plays harmonica on some of them. They hail from Mississippi, the home of the blues, and it’s very obvious that they listened to the blues from the day that they were born.

I had listened to the first two tracks thinking that this was a band of 50+ year olds who had been playing together for 20 years or so – and I still thought they were good! Currently, I’ve listened to the CD approximately 20 times and I still can’t believe the age of this band – my feet are tapping and my body is boogeying!

There’s only one cover version amongst the 11 tracks, and that’s a good version of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” – Dad Renaud Perry wrote the rest, and it’s all good stuff. He plays harp on four of the tracks and fits in so well with his kids. They have a guest, in the shape of rhythm guitarist Miles Wilkinson, on four of the tracks, but apart from that it’s a family affair.

They’ve been playing at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and they’ve been on CBS Sunday Morning. I can’t help but imagine what they will be like in 10 years time (and one of them still won’t have reached 20 years of age!).

If you don’t buy another blues CD this year, make sure you buy this one.

--- Terry Clear


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