I really liked Bert Deivert’s brand of blues when I heard his last release, 2011’s Kid Man Blues. He plays mandolin and guitar, and his mandolin playing really gives his songs an interesting twist, especially his interpretations of classic older blues songs. That being said, I was delighted to see and hear Devert’s latest release, Blood In My Eyes For You (Rootsy), which was recorded with the Swedish band Copperhead Run (Fredrik Lindholm – drums, percussion, Janne Zander – guitars, Per-Arne Pettersson – bass, percussion), and continues Deivert’s approach with ten covers of traditional blues and two original compositions from Deivert.

Most of the cover tunes date back to the pre-war era, featuring familiar tunes from Big Joe Williams (“Baby Please Don’t Go”), Son House (“Death Letter”), the title track from the Mississippi Sheiks, and four tunes from Sleepy John Estes (“Mailman Blues,” “Special Agent,” “Drop Down Mama,” and “Milkcow Blues”). Deivert also covers more recent fare from blues mandolin pioneer Yank Rachell (“My Baby’s Gone”), R.L. Burnside (“Poor Black Mattie”), and Paul “Wine” Jones (“Rob and Steal”).

Though the songs come from the earlier days of the blues, Deivert’s mandolin and the work of the band, which is in a decidedly modern vein gives these songs a new and highly original sound. In some cases, you will think you’re listening to new songs. Deivert’s originals, “Black Nanny” and “Cuckoo Crowed,” fit seamlessly with the classic tunes both lyrically and musically.

Hopefully, Deivert’s efforts, as well as others like Ry Cooder, David Grisman, and Steve James, to bring the blues mandolin to center stage will be successful, and allow us the opportunity to hear even more of this unique approach to the blues. In the meantime, Blood In My Eyes For You is a great place to hear what you’re missing.

— Graham Clarke