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.