Blind Willies

“Lord Thought He’d Make a Man” – Blind Willies

Any band that combines a Hammond organ and a cello has my attention, to begin with. Likewise a band that features a lyric about being tried “by a jury of your fears” in the song’s first 25 seconds.

“Lord Thought He’d Make a Man” is an old-timey song with sprinkles of Randy Newman, Kurt Weill, Tom Waits, and Jim Morrison concocted into slinky, rugged shuffle. Front man Alexei Wajchman has a sly sense of humor and a slightly unhinged singing and guitar-playing style that fully commands the aural stage (and I have no doubt of his command of the physical stage as well).

Blind Willies are a San Francisco-based band that grew from a duo of students at SF’s High School of the Arts playing a combination of American folk songs and Wajchman’s original compositions. There are now five people in the band. “Lord Thought He’d Make a Man” is from the group’s’ third album, Needle, Feather, and a Rope, which was recorded live to two-inch analog tape at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio, with a minimum of overdubs. The album was released last month on the band’s own imprint, Diggory Records. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the lead.