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Verse Chorus Verse: The Rounders – “God Knows I’m Trying”

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There may not be any music genre with a footprint as large and as deep as the blues.  That footprint has allowed the blues to make its mark on nearly every musical genre under the sun.  At its best, the blues provides depth, contour, and feel to whatever it touches.  Unfortunately, these blues hybrid experiments aren't always successful and can sometimes have the unfortunate effect of depriving the blues of its awesome powers.

The Rounders, formed in Oklahoma City, weren't necessarily setting out to create a hybrid of '90s sounds and the blues, but when I listen to their Blind Pig debut, Wish I Had You, that's what I hear.  Maybe it's just a matter of them being a product of their record collection, a collection that included music from different styles.  Intentional, real, or imagined, there's something traditional and modern in the sound of "God Knows I'm Trying."

"God Knows I'm Trying" smolders rather than burns.  The intensity of the heat is enough to explode into a blazing inferno, but it never does, and the restraint gives the song even more power.  A lead guitar figure plays throughout the intro, verses, and choruses. Stu Williamson's drumming and percussion are near perfect — call him the anti-Alex Van Halen; I can probably count on one hand the number of times he reaches for a crash cymbal.  The rhythm is pounded out on snare and bass drum, with a shaking tambourine mixed low into the background.  It's all about understatement. 

After an eight year run together, The Rounders disbanded.  It's a damn shame.  They were really on to something.  You can still find copies of Wish I Had You at Amazon and around the 'net.  They'll leave you wanting more.

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About Josh Hathaway