Listen to this track by impressionistic blues and soul proponent for the 21st century, Son Little. It’s “Cross My Heart”, his initial foray into a new musical milieu under this new moniker in November of 2013. His birth name is Aaron Livingston, known for projects under that name in collaborations with Rjd2 and The Roots.
The evocation of the blues is palpable here on his first single under the Son Little banner, and for more than the standard and purely musical reasons, although this song departs from that template too. For many, the blues is not so much a musical form as it is a spiritual state, and a connection to a shared history that is less joyous than even the best in a musical genre has shown us.
At the root, and established before the branches of rock and soul music were cultivated , the blues has always been about pain and dehumanization, and the raw expression in reaction to those. That’s what Son Little hooks into here.
Yet, somehow this is not about some scholarly recreation of classic blues or soul. There are greater depths to be discovered here.