Neither Chris nor Patrick can fully explain their ESP-like musical compatibility. “When I started playing with Chris, I didn’t know anything,” ventures Patrick, whose bass influences in addition to Dave Myers include Willie Kent, Ransom Knowling, and Big Crawford (as you might expect after encountering the latter two names, he’s just as conversant on upright bass as on electric). “Because I’ve learned all that stuff, I have the tools and I have the way of playing to make the chemistry between me and Chris just work.”
Blues Fans have long been well aware of vocalist and lead guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn as the leaders of their own band, the Blue Four, as well as for their stellar work with a dazzling array of blues legends. Gonna Boogie Anyway, their second album for the Earwig label following their Blues Music Award-nominated 2008 set Stop And Think About It, triumphantly marks the latest chapter for the San Diego-based duo, whose high-energy approach remains deeply rooted in traditional electric blues from Chicago to all points south.
Chris’ dazzling guitar work is featured even more prominently than on its acclaimed predecessor, and for the first time on disc, the pair performs four unplugged selections, James’ vocals ringing with extraordinary force over rollicking grooves anchored by Patrick’s rock-steady bass. Original material dominates; the album’s four covers include two Bo Diddley gems (“Little Girl” and “Dearest Darling”). Piano legends Henry Gray and David Maxwell and veteran Chicago drummers Sam Lay and Willie Hayes are all on board, as is their harp-blowing cohort Rob Stone. Chris and Patrick return the favor on Rob’s new Earwig CD, Back Around Here.
Stop And Think About It spread the names of Chris James and Patrick Rynn far and wide. The CD was nominated for a Blues Music Award as best debut recording and won a Blues Blast Award as best artist debut. “Mister Coffee,” a standout original from the album, was nominated for a BBA and a third place finisher in the Independent Music Awards, where Chris and Patrick were nominated for a People’s Choice Award. And in 2010, Patrick was nominated for a Blues Music Award as best bassist, adding another impressive honor to their shared trophy case.
The San Diego-based bluesmen inaugurated their musical partnership in 1990 when both were in Chicago for the first time. The sartorially splendiferous duo has been inseparable ever since, their telepathic onstage interplay always in evidence whether they’re digging deep into classic postwar blues or dishing up the meaty, satisfying originals prominently featured on their new CD. By the time of that fateful first meeting, Chris, once a teenaged musical prodigy, had logged plenty of gigging miles, fronting bands long before he ever visited the Windy City.