I’m always a sucker for the righteous lone voice in the desert calling out to the wind and not giving a holy f*ck if an echo ever comes back. The Scissormen, a blues duo comprised of guitarist/singer Ted Drozdrowski and drummer R.L. Hulsman, fill that John the Baptist role, playing authentic, down and dirty juke joint blues while at the same time pointing back to their saviors, bluesmen like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. Drozdrowski is a renowned music journalist with encyclopedic knowledge of the blues who’s written for Rolling Stone,The Boston Phoenix and many other periodicals. Over a decade ago, Drozdrowski left Boston and based himself in Nashville, and for the past ten years or so, he’s been playing with Hulsman in The Scissormen.
The CD plus DVD package, Big Shoes : Walking and Talking the Blues, documents the band as they did a tour in the Midwest. The DVD portion is a film by music documentary filmmaker extraordinaire Robert Mugge, (Deep Blues, Last of the Mississippi Jukes, many others) which shows The Scissormen playing in small clubs. Drozdrowski is a born showman – he gets up on the bar and walks it while playing his screaming, incendiary slide guitar, he jumps up on tables and plays with beer bottles, he lets a pretty girl hold his guitar horizontal, like a pedal steel, while he plays his gritty slide. R.L. Hulsman is organically tuned into Drozdrowski in what can only be described as spontaneous playing – that is, there’s a clear freedom to improvise at work here, within the stricter setting of a blues song. The two are interlocked yet free to take off, which makes the music so exciting. This is the real deal – as a disciple (and friend) of R.L. Burnside, Drozdrowski plays it like it’s played in juke joints – ragged and dirty, loud and howling, laying it down like there won’t be a tomorrow, but if there is, you’ll remember the night you heard The Scissormen. The CD is culled from live performances of the tour. In the film, Drozdrowski acts as an historical blues commentator as he drives along on the tour, and his deep, genuine love of the music is evident throughout.
If The Black Keys meet the public halfway and modern-up the music enough so that it’s palatable for the hip, The Scissormen grab the listener by the collar and drag them into a crowded juke joint that smells of beer and sweat and proceed to show them exactly where the music originated.
Check out the movie trailer on the left. This came out in 2010, but may have been under your radar. If you love raw, real and outside, The Scissormen are it. So go get it. Right now.