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Son Little at Music Tastes Good 2016, September 23rd. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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RECAP:  Whoever thinks that traditional rhythm and blues has been slowly fading away needs to look up Son Little, stat. Music journalists have been arguing that traditional blues has been consumed by hip-hop, that the inbreeding of musical styles created offspring that only vaguely reconnects to the essence of traditional R&B. I beg to differ. Taking the Music Tastes Good stage amidst machine generated fog, Son Little (nee Aaron Livingston) and his band took the stage and gave the city of long beach proof that the essence of vintage blues is alive and well.

The fog added a weight to Son Little’s performance. Livingston’s deceptively powerful voice pierced through the fog, as his band steadily accompanied him. There’s a rawness to Livingston’s voice that highlights the emotional meaning behind his lyrics. Whether yearning for love, preaching for change or questioning existence, it’s the love, pain, and introspection in his raspy voice really makes you stop in your tracks and pay attention.

Talk of blues chord progressions, scales, and shuffles aside (all of which are in Son Little’s music), what I really loved about Arron Livingston’s performance at Music Tastes Good was how intimate it was. Even in a festival setting, under the purple lights, and amidst the machine generated fog, the performance almost felt like a mystic therapy session, where the audience was personally involved to observe and understand and feel all that which Son Little was preaching. We all got lost in Son Little’s soulful, heartfelt narrative that night, and if that ain’t the blues, I don’t know what is.

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