Blues musicians have been recycling the same ol' same for so long that it's easy to forget just how exciting blues can be. Guitarslinger/singer Peter Parcek's thrill-a-minute The Mathematics of Love is a reminder of that. Parcek, like, say, Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanan before him, is a lyrical, inventive player, equally reverent of economy and excess, dynamics and subtlety, raunch and smooth, sweet soul. He makes every note count while remembering that those notes must take their rightful place in the bigger picture. Which is the other reason The Mathematics of Love — mostly produced by the Phoenix's own Ted Drozdowski — is a keeper. Parcek understands that it's about the song, not him. He could have taken the easy way out and used the album as a vehicle for a series of struts. He's imposing on his machine, no question, but from the inflammable opener, a cover of Peter Green's "Showbiz Blues," with its sharp jabs and cuts, to the Delta-inspired original "New Year's Eve" and the easy, spacy "Tears like Diamonds," Parcek and his musicians bow at the altar of the song. Mississippi Fred McDowell's "Kokomo Me Baby" is submitted to a rockabilly speed test, Lucinda Williams's "Get Right with God" gets righter with blistering axmanship, and the Ray Charles–associated standard (written by Harlan Howard) "Busted," with the ever-soulful organ of Al Kooper coloring the melody, is handled with panache and respect. If you're among those who've grown weary of cookie-cutter bar-band blues, this is the antidote.
PETER PARCEK | Johnny D's, 17 Holland St, Somerville | July 15 | 617.776.2004 or johnnyds.com