Paul Pena, New Train

Reid Genauer (Assembly of Dust)

By Reid Genauer (Assembly of Dust)

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

New Train

Paul Pena
The blind bluesman that brought you “Jet Airliner”

Ever hear of him? Neither had I, but I bet you know one of his songs. I've gotten into the habit of renting Netflix movies and they've gotten pretty good at making recommendations based on my rental history. One of the films they recommended was a documentary about an aging, blind bluesman who teaches himself to do Tuvan throat singing, a strange chant-like technique that enables one to sing two pitches at once and to make use of circular breathing much like you would for playing a didgeridoo. The protagonist of this documentary was Paul Pena. This album is a collection of folk, blues and rock. My favorite songs on the album are "Gonna Move," recently covered by Susan Tedeschi and, yes, "Jet Airliner," written by Pena and made into a huge hit in the '70s by the Steve Miller Band. Paul's version is much more gritty and raucous than Miller's. When I heard it, I felt like I finally understood the song for what it was meant to be.