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Out Of The Blues

"I wanted to make a song-based album," says guitarist Mike Lowry quietly.

Self-released last May by the 22 year old, the untitled nine-track collection, Lowry's second disc, is receiving some well-deserved attention, pushing past the blues' limiting boundaries.

Two years in the making, this production — which he considers his debut — consists of well-constructed, professionally produced rootsy ballads, upbeat pop and swampy burners. Lowry sings in a weathered voice sounding far more experienced than his baby face indicates. Unlike most albums from young gun guitarists, Lowry keeps his solos succinct, concentrating on arrangements and overdubs. The result is a textured, nuanced work that avoids getting stuck in a blues pigeonhole.

Helping the process is ex-Wet Willie bassist Jack Hall, who not only plays in Lowry's group but also supports and advises the young guitarist. Spirited, R&B-heavy tracks like the horn-propelled "Home to You" and the Southside Johnny-styled "Good-Bye" wouldn't seem out of place on an old Wet Willie album. Certainly the sunshiny "Don't Carry the Weight" could slot onto pop radio as easily as John Mayer.

With the raw materials in place, Lowry, who currently performs regionally, is eager to move to the next level. The tough part is getting this CD more visibility. It's all about exposure, which, he has learned, "is a harder job then it seems."

The Mike Lowry Band plays the Uptown Music Cafe in Jasper Sat., Jan. 10. Call for ticket price.