The blues is forever. That’s what they say, and they are probably right. Nonetheless, it was something of a surprise that someone as young as Yates McKendree should take the traditional blues road for his debut album “Buchanan Lane.”
The cynical might suggest that choosing this particular genre is the kind of career move that leads to a successful festival booking strategy. Either that or it is just the result of continued exposure to the twelve bars from an early age. I don’t know because I wasn’t there but it is hard to deny the down home feeling that Yates McKendree brings to this selection covers and originals. His handling of the blues covers is always respectful, and just what the doctor ordered, yet it is in his own compositions that we get to hear a more adventurous – and dare I say it, rather more playful – side that draws more on jazz for inspiration. I love the blues but I love hearing a musician trying to kick the ball out of the park even more.
Yates McKendree can tear up a fretboard with the best of them when the mood takes him and no one can doubt that he has the feel for the blues. That makes “Buchanan Lane “a positive first step in the right direction.