Bottoms Up Blues Gang

The through-line from W.C. Handy's groundbreaking, genre-establishing "St. Louis Blues" to St. Louis' Bottoms Up Blues Gang (currently the Gateway City's reigning blues duo) can appear fuzzy at times. Whereas Handy and company (Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, et al) fused brass-laden, twelve-bar melodies with elements of pop, jazz and ragtime, Bottoms Up guitarist Jeremy Segel-Moss and vocalist Kari Liston stick to a twangy, backwoods acoustic vibe. What past and present share is a wry delivery of arch, shoulda-known-better lyrics and a deliberately rough-edged stage presence that invites everybody to come a little closer. With a repertoire carefully crafted from equal parts originals and covers, Bottoms Up also knows how to pay reverent tribute; the duo cleverly re-imagines Louis Jordan's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" as part boozy nightclub torch song, part groovy jam-band ditty. And like all great blues bands, no matter what the decade, they succeed wildly in making you feel anything but blue. ROSE MARTELLI

Wed., March 3, 9 p.m., 2010

 
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