Ian is a big deal with blues fans in Europe, including Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood. One listen to Meat and Potatoes makes it easy to see why. Siegel sings in a choked vocal style that calls to mind a mix of Howlin’ Wolf and Tom Waits. In fact, I had to remind myself this wasn’t a new Waits record. The loping feel of “Work,” along with Siegel’s vocal, immediately brings to mind the eccentric Waits. Siegel also throws in fine acoustic slide, and overall, his guitar playing is a perfect complement to his singing and blues style. “Drowned my Sorrows (But They Sure Learned How to Swim)” is a Chicago romper by way of the Delta, with fine National work by Siegel. It eventually turns into a New Orleans-style ragtime tune with his guitar supplying most of the energy. “Revelator (John the Apostle)” serves up more of the same, with a menacing mood. Most of the tunes here would be called blues, but “Falling On Down Again” is a soul tune that features a leather-throated vocal, a la Otis Redding. And the title cut is just a plain-old country blues, done the way it should be.
Most of the songs here are quite good, and it’s easy to see Siegel is growing. This is a fine record that should make its way onto blues lover’s shelves. I expect his future efforts will showcase more of his personality and voice, making him one of the young champions of an old style.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.