White-boy blues

The life and times of Preacher Boy and the Natural Blues

This white boy realizes that "the stereotypes that are bound in blues can be really defeating. I wanted to prove it didn't have to be like that." Judging from the hordes of fans at recent gigs and the vitality of the group's all-original, eponymous debut for Blind Pig Records, that perseverance is paying off.

In spite of -- and perhaps because of -- the band's thoughtfully developed idiosyncrasies and inescapable whiteness, it hasn't been an entirely uphill battle. To tell the truth, the anomalies surrounding this band have opened up as many doors as they've sealed. For example, when the fairly insular blues community shut them out, the alternative-rock crowd embraced the group with arms open wide.

Preacher Boy credits the open-mindedness of the Bay Area for the warm reception. "It went great from minute one," he declares. "I'm proud of [our accomplishments] because we're taking positive advantage of what our situation is like, and I think the real serious praise we've gotten from people in the industry is supportive of that. Like, 'We really need some fresh blood in roots music and it's good to see that younger people are still doing it and have that kind of connection.'"

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And as for the inner sanctum of blues land? Well, maybe -- just maybe -- that gateway will swing open yet.

Preacher Boy and the Natural Blues celebrate the release of their new record Fri, March 3, at the Paradise Lounge in S.F. (861-6906) and Sat, March 4, at Blake's in Berkeley (510/848-0886).

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