City Paper is not for tourists
Mose Allison is exactly the kind of guy the Pixies would write one of their most joyful songs about. Musically, though, the Mississippi Delta–born octogenarian is as far from guitar-drenched alt-rock as you can get: He’s a pianist and singer who plays a jazz-blues hybrid with effortless swing and a sly, clear vocal groan. But what’s endeared him to musicians ranging from Van Morrison to Frank Black is his endless supply of inspiration. Onstage, he’s clearly delighted to once again sit behind the keys, and every note sounds with grace and aplomb as he finds new ways to attack 75-year-old Sonny Boy Williamson blues and his own originals. These songs should have long since been exhausted after hundreds of performances—or, for that matter, by the countless cover versions that have been made over the past half-century. Yet they’re somehow still fresh with every performance, and Allison’s Deep South charm lifts them into the sublime.
Mose Allison performs tonight through Sunday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.