Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager (from the album Rough Cut available on Alligator Records)
The Pacific Northwest is home to Bluesmen Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager. The pair began playing together in 2003, with Alan Hager and his guitar coming full-time into a band led by Curtis Salgado in 2015. Rough Cut stages the soulful vocals and harmonica of Curtis Salgado alongside Alan Hager’s guitar work as the pair team up to record and produce the Alligator Records release. The music of Rough Cut divides time up between originals from Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager and versions of cuts by Big Bill Broonzy (“I Want You by My Side”), Muddy Waters (“I Can’t Be Satisfied”), Elmore James (“You Got to Move”), Sonny Boy Williamson (“Too Young to Die”), and traditional Blues standards (“Morning Train”).
Beginning a career in Blues while in his twenties, Curtis Salgado made a name in the Northwest music scene with The Nighthawks prior to becoming co-leader of The Robert Cray Band. While an early student of the Blues, after graduating from Berklee School of Music, where he studied under Pat Metheny, Alan Hager found a seat in Classical music before moving back to the Northwest. Curtis Salgado felt that Alan Hager is ‘the best player in the business, unlike anybody else. One reason I made this record was to show him off’. Rough Cut showcases the playing of both Bluesmen, matching their original tracks with Blues history as Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager save their prayers for a best friend with “I Want My Dog to Live Longer (The Greatest Wish)”. Opening the album with slow churning Blues, Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager declare that “I Will Not Surrender” and barrel roll the Blues to put a groove underneath Curtis as he proudly states his future with “Hell in a Handbasket” as Rough Cut picks notes out of acoustic Folk with a Son House tune (“Depot Blues”) and makes a boogie beat the soundtrack for “One Night Only”.
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