Complicated blues with Chris Mule and The Perpetrators

Chris Mule of the Honey Island Swamp Band brought his sly blues guitar to Chickie Wah Wah on Tuesday night for a performance with his new project, The Perpetrators.

Uganda Roberts performs with Chris Mule and The Perpetrators at Chickie Wah Wah in New Orleans on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012

Uganda Roberts performs with Chris Mule and The Perpetrators at Chickie Wah Wah in New Orleans on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012

Performing with Mule and the Perpetrators at Chickie Wah Wah on Oct. 2 were Tom Marron, who brought intricate and fascinating harmonica and fiddle work, and Uganda Roberts, with his mystical, rippling conga playing.

The music benefited from the respectful atmosphere at Chickie Wah Wah, where the audiences seem inclined to shut up and listen during performances. Mule’s interpretation of folk blues songs reinforces the connections between the simplicity of basic song structures and the complexity of the human struggles evoked through those structures for generations.

The songs spanned a wide range from “The Cuckoo,” which has its origins as a traditional English folk song; to Elmore James’ “My Kind of Woman”; to Elizabeth Cotten’s “Freight Train”; to the Beatles’ “Across the Universe”; to The Traveling Wilburys’ “Congratulations”; to the Woody Guthrie lyrics of “California Stars” set to music by Billy Bragg & Wilco.

Included were some of Mule’s own compositions, such as “Never Saw it Coming” and “Baptized by Fire.”

Chris Mule and The Perpetrators will be playing at Chickie Wah Wah the next two Tuesdays, Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, at 9:30 p.m., following Tommy Malone. who is scheduled to start playing at 7 p.m.

The Honey Island Swamp Band has a lot of traveling lined up for the coming month, but is scheduled to play locally at the Voice of the Wetlands Festival in Houma at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14; at dba in New Orleans at 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2; and at the Blue Nile in New Orleans at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10.

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