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Listen To This

The Steve Woolsey Band

Who?: Steve Woolsey, guitar, vocals; Ron LoCurto, guitar; Doug Ackman, drums (live); Al Hury, drums (in studio); Scott Freilich, upright bass.

What?: A soulful blend of blues, folk, rock and singer/songwriter fare.

Why?: Listening to "Dear Mr. Johnson," the second track on Woolsey and Co.'s new collection, "For Mr. J," you're moved by the way the singer pours all he's got into a slow-blues tribute to Robert Johnson, Son House and other seminal blues influences. The heartfelt, sultry song finds guitarist LoCurto spitting shards of eloquent guitar around Woolsey's subtle and soul-drenched vocal. The whole album, in fact, swings comfortably and assuredly, from the jazzy shuffle of "Genesee" to the folk-soaked balladry of "Train." Woolsey and his friends have crafted a stirring collection of roots music songs marked by first-tier musicianship.

What's next?: CD release party honoring "For Mr. J" is 8 p.m. Saturday in the Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.).

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-- Jeff Miers

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