FANTASTIC NEGRITO Fantastic Negrito: Deluxe Edition EP

The breakout American blues artist of 2016?

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Fantastic Negrito is a 46-year-old African-American musician from Oakland, California, who won a talent contest on National Public Radio in 2014 and since then has attracted plenty of US praise.

A previous flop album on Interscope (under another name) and a serious car crash forced him to consider exactly what the music he wanted to make was. The answer is what he calls “black roots – blues with gospel and soul flavours”.

Over the seven songs here, Fantastic Negrito performs a rocking blues that sounds organic yet has a very contemporary polish. As with Gary Clark Jr, Negrito is equally immersed in blues-rock, although he owes more to Jack White than Eric Clapton. His songs are dramatic, overly so at points, yet contained in a largely acoustic context so avoiding bombast. Intense and fresh, 2016 should be Fantastic Negrito’s year.