“Back to New York City”
By Michael Popke
Singer-guitarist Popa Chubby — a big, tattoed white guy who weighs in at more than 300 pounds — looks more like a headbanging freak than a master bluesman.
But “Back to New York City” proves this major-label refugee and former heroin addict can blur blues and rock as easily as he shreds stereotypes.
The rowdy title-track opener and the Texas shuffle “She Loves Everybody But Me” serve as mere warm-ups for scorchers like the dark rocker “Pound of Flesh” and the anxious “Warrior God,” which showcase the big man’s musical versatility.
On a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “The Future,” Chubby channels the songwriter so effectively, you’ll be checking the liner notes to make sure Cohen himself didn’t actually appear on the track. Heck, Popa even closes the album with a sizzling (albeit imperfectly punctuated) version of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring.”