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This Boy's Got the Blues

by Ari Bendersky
on 02 June 2005

Who says a white teenager from Saskatchewan can’t have the blues? Thank god no one told 17-year-old Kyle Riabko because we’d be without one of the hottest young up-and-comers in the blues genre.

Back in the ‘90s, Jonny Lang, another young blues wunderkind from the northern region (North Dakota's not as far north, but it's up there, ya know?!), came out of nowhere to blow the roof off. He eventually toured with greats like B.B. King. Lang had the look of a small white kid who you’d torment at the playground but when he opened his mouth the gruff voice of an old black man came out.

Riabko’s sound is more polished and slightly more produced, but equally strong on his debut Before I Speak, for which he pulls influence from rock, hip-hop Delta blues – even Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Beck and Jeff Tweedy.

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