Blues guitarist/songwriter Cyril Lance's debut album, "Stranger in My House," a completely DIY project, was one of the best blues albums of 2002.

Blues guitarist/songwriter Cyril Lance's debut album, "Stranger in My House," a completely DIY project, was one of the best blues albums of 2002. "Live From the Outskirts" is another DIY affair that was recorded in three days at a trio of North Carolina rock venues. Lance's band members provide a major thrill in and of themselves: Johnny Neel (vocals, piano), Kelly Pace (drums), Chris Carroll (bass, vocals), Matt Jenson (B3) and Dave McCracken (B3). Lance and his mates offer up a collection of tunes notable not only for their incredible power but also for the variety of the groove. From the soul-fired vibe of Neel's vocal on "Blues Ain't Nothing" to the formidable cover of John Scofield's "Chank" to the deep blues of "Same Thing," the sheer musicianship of this disc matches the best any blues label has to offer. Lance wrote half the tunes himself, and his guitar playing is virtuosity defined. —PVV