The Chris Cain Band is appearing Sunday at Broad St. Seafood in Falls Church. The date was incorrect in yesterday's Weekend. (Published 2/9/91)
WHILE EVERY blues revival band has a hot-shot guitarist, very few can boast a singer with the relaxed style and mature expressiveness of the old blues masters. Of the revivalist singers, only Kim Wilson, Billy Price, Robert Cray and Phil Alvin can really withstand comparisons to their elder mentors. To this select company, we can now add Chris Cain, the San Jose bluesman whose new album, "Cuttin' Loose," is an excellent introduction to a voice that has the rich, full lower end of Memphis veterans like Bobby Bland and B. B. King.
Cain's father grew up on Beale Street with Bland and King, and Cain grew up with blues in the house. This has given him a handle on the music that few others in his generation can match. Cain's songs about married women ("Just Ain't My Plan"), complaining women ("Change Might Do Us Good") and irresistible women ("Everything You Do Is Just Right") boast the detail, wit and narrative strength of vintage blues songs by Percy Mayfield and Lowell Fulsom. Cain plays his hollow-body electric guitar so well that it seems to sing on the album's two instrumentals.
It's as a vocalist, though, that Cain really stands out from the competition. Even on the fastest rocking blues numbers, he sings with the restrained control and resonant tone that most singers save for the ballads. On the slow songs, Cain seems to bring a world-weariness to every lament -- as if he's seen it all before and knows he'll see it all again.