Could 2003 be The Year of the Blues? Or could this be the Year For Catchy Marketing Phrases? Whether or not the timing of this tidy sampler has anything to do with the Martin Scorsese-produced PBS blue(s) movies this month is somewhat immaterial - this IS a rather nice cross-section of contemporary American blues, with the lion’s share of disc-space going to the Younger Upstarts and Older-But-Lesser-Known Torch Bearers keeping-vital the Tradition. Among the old guard represented: icon B.B. King, playing in tandem with guitarist Arthur Adams, playing the jazzy "Get You Next To Me"; Otis Rush, one of the standard bearers of the soul-flavored Chicago West Side sound, and Taj Mahal, who started off playing electric blues but gradually brought the once-endangered country blues to the fore. The Upstarts: Susan Tedeschi, who plays with the slide-fire of Hound Dog Taylor and sings like a young, ravenously hungry Bonnie Raitt; Eric Bibb and Keb’ Mo,’ who weave in elements of country and gospel to their troubadour-styled folk-blues. The R&B/down-home soul Ringers (performers who aren’t, strictly speaking, blues singers but whose music wouldn’t be the same without the music): Solomon Burke, Ruth Brown and the underrated West Coaster Sugar Pie Desanto, all of whose gospel-inspired, near-Sanctified voices are can cure (or at least make a bit more bearable) many emotional ills. This package is no doubt aimed at them that’s new to the blues - while no one-disc package is going to be comprehensive, THIS gem is up to the task to opening some eyes and ears to a uniquely American experience.