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Colin Dussault's Blues Project 

Watch This! (Erica Records)

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Colin Dussault has long been great at tweaking blues conventions without subverting them. Nothing's changed on Watch This!; he's just a little smoother, as is his band. For an institution of this stature, the Project's members are a humble crew: They open the disc by celebrating not themselves, but Robert Lockwood Jr., long the city's resident legendary bluesman. Lockwood joins them for the lively but laid-back cut, as does budding diva Mary Bridget Davies.

The Project's eighth album is light on originals, which only underscores the band's prowess. The group makes Etta James' "At Last" sound like an original, stretching out the classic and filling it with Dussault's weeping harmonica, turning it into the kind of slow-dance song that ends too soon. For "City of New Orleans -- 2005," Dussault breaks out his pen, paying tribute to the wounded city with a righteous anger befitting one of its true sons. For a couple of minutes, Dussault's Clevelander status becomes a mere technicality.

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