Material: Occasionally, while doing this sort of work and listening to new music every day, we stumble across the sort of artist who makes us feel like we’re at ground zero, at the very beginning of a journey that’s going to go somewhere special. Joshua Logan, also known as Chief White Lightning, is an Austin, TX, dude recently relocated to Long Beach, CA. He’s also a member of Austin band The Blind Pets, but he recently put out the debut self-titled Chief White Lightning “solo” album, and it’s frankly spectacular. Raw, primal blues meets fun, garage-R&B––there’s a slight Detroit-esque, White Stripes/Electric Six vibe to it all. There’s also a rockabilly edge in a fun, Rocket From the Crypt sort of way. “Bleach Blonde Heritage” is a catchy, danceable tune; elsewhere, Logan wails out humanity’s aches and pains. Put it all together, and the Chief White Lightning sound is spectacular.
Musicianship: Logan himself is a wonderful guitarist. He’s all about the feel; while he’s clearly technically proficient, the joy is in the way he’s able to wrench sheer emotion out of his instrument. Matched with his vocals, which are equally heartfelt, we have a frontman capable of effortlessly articulating his feelings through his art. Meanwhile, he’s assembled a group (he calls it the “Good Time Band”) that frames the whole thing beautifully––individuals who are in sync with Logan’s very personal music. That’s priceless.
Performance: The Chief is a mesmerizing frontman and performer, though it’s not immediately clear why. He doesn’t move a whole lot, and neither does his band. Rather, it’s all about the effort that he’s putting into the songs. And it all starts with the white suit he’s sporting (also recently seen on the video for “Bleach Blonde Heritage.” It’s a thing of beauty, and Logan’s trademark lightning-strike symbol is also on the back of Wilson’s black jacket. It’s a level of detail that’s reflected in the music. Essentially, when you have a band this good playing with this authentic a level of passion, it’s impossible to look away.
Summary: Chief White Lightning sees Logan finding his feet as a solo artist but, damn, he’s made an incredible start. As he settles into life in California, playing every dive in L.A. and Orange County, he’s only going to get better. And frankly, that’s frightening.
The Wayfarer Costa Mesa, CA
Players: Joshua “Chief White Lightning” Logan, vocals, guitar; Jonas Wilson, guitar, keys; Dustin Hannah, bass; Glenn Fryatt, drums