Friday, January 10, and Saturday, January 11, at the Grand Emporium.

Corey Stevens 

Friday, January 10, and Saturday, January 11, at the Grand Emporium.

A controversial contemporary blues figure, Corey Stevens infuriates purists, who claim that his compositions, though technically tight, lack soul. For once, the traditionalists might be right -- Stevens seems like a genetic clone of Stevie Ray Vaughan, reproducing his E-flat-tuned notes and spiffy solos without emotion. Yet this Midwest native, who grew up an hour east of St. Louis and now lives in Los Angeles, does his genre a valuable service, roping in rock fans and lassoing the country crowd. After hearing his bar-band-style covers of Vaughn, Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy tunes, at least some blues novices search out the originals. There's room in blues for both "Crossroads" and crossover, so while connoisseurs of the classics hold out for players who uphold Robert Johnson's spirit, newcomers -- and blues club owners, who appreciate the fresh faces -- will continue to welcome Stevens.

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