Make no mistake, New York City guitarist Popa Chubby isn't your standard-issue blues guy.

Make no mistake, New York City guitarist Popa Chubby isn't your standard-issue blues guy. "Daddy Played the Guitar and Mama Was a Disco Queen" opens in a dobro-inspired acoustic groove, but Chubby breaks that down to a rap, simultaneously evoking the talking blues of yore and today's hip-hop. With Chubby, blues is a distinctly urban, free-association groove that stays in touch with everything from tape loops to Leon Russell, soul to Southern blues-rock. If Muddy Waters was a modern blues artist, then Chubby is a post-modern bluesman. He writes tunes amid a blizzard of influences, but the gut feeling of his material is anchored in the blues. He resolves that tension in a fresh take on the genre, paying his respects as he breaks trail.—PVV