By Ian Bremner

As long as there is no ill intent or instinctual violence or anything, people usually react well to a good surprise. For example, some may look surprised if you were to tell them that one of the best country albums of the last year came from a gentlemen relatively unknown outside of his hometown in Anacortes, Washington.

Karl Blau has been making albums since the late 1990s and has accumulated upwards of 40 LPs to his name. Why is his latest album titled, Introducing Karl Blau, you ask? Perhaps, it is as tongue-in-cheek as it is fitting.

Blau, a member of Anacortes’ Knw-Yr-Own/K Records collective is a musical scientist. He seems to never be quite finished experimenting with new sounds, styles and genres. This time he settled upon recording a collection of classic, somewhat underground country covers. Introducing is not just a cover album however. Each song, whether its How I Got To Memphis, an original Tom T Hall song or Link Wray’s Fallin Rain, Blau makes completely his own. Much like Sturgill Simpson’s The Promise and In Bloom, when listening to the album, you are fully absorbed into Blau’s voice and words until you get the feeling, “I swear this sounds familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it.”

One thing you can put your finger on, is the play button immediately after the album ends.

Introducing Karl Blau

Fallin Rain official video