It’s all too easy to forget our roots. A lot of my generation is hung up on waiting for the next hot single or mixtape to drop, and forget to travel back in time. It’s hard to find the patience or consideration to drop the needle on an old Zeppelin album, taking note of each guitar screech and cymbal crash. Sadly the blues, a music with a rich and storied legacy, is largely overlooked in this day and age. Fortunately for all you old-souled music fans, there’s always a new generation coming around the bend, proudly carrying the torch for the blues. You may have heard of The Black Keys and The White Stripes, but there’s a new duo in town: Born Crooked.
Based out of Charlottesville, Virginia, siblings Hunter and ARE Wolfe make up Born Crooked, a blues rock duo steeped in tradition. Having grown up in a music-loving family, the pair has been surrounded by music of all genres practically all their lives. That being said, it’s always been the blues that’s called to the pair the strongest. Hunter, lead singer and guitarist, says the blues appeals to him because, “The blues is one of the most real music you can listen to… It is honest. It is undeniably genuine. It is written for the soul, by the soul, from the soul.” This passion translates flawlessly into Born Crooked’s sound. Between Hunter on vocals and electric guitar and ARE on drums, the two combine to churn out bare-bones, in-your-face blues rock.
Despite their young age, Born Crooked brings forth a presence and professionalism that is well beyond their years. Hunter’s vocals are confident, bombastic, and soulful, just like his guitar playing. He cranks out fuzzy, bluesy riffs with the best of them and harnesses dirty, swampy Delta Blues with slithering slide guitar licks. The old masters that influenced Born Crooked like Son House, Led Zeppelin, Blind Willie Johnson, and “Honeyboy” Edwards would be very proud.
As far as the other half of Born Crooked is concerned, drummer ARE is a thunderous beauty that lays down the boom whenever she sits at a kit. After being handed a pair of hand-me-down drumsticks from her brother, she knew without a doubt that drumming was what she wanted to do. According to Hunter, she had a knack for keeping the rhythm the second she sat down at a used drum kit she received one birthday. He says, “She was a natural talent, a prodigy, from the start.” This innate connection to the drums never fails to shine through as she serves as the band’s steady backbone on every single song.
If you don’t want to take my word for it that Born Crooked is a true blues revival on the rise, maybe the fact that Hunter and ARE are finalists in the Grammy Amplifier Competition is more convincing. After landing among the contest’s Top 10 contenders with 180,000 fan votes, Born Crooked is now in the final round of judging with country star Sam Hunt, rapper Big Sean and rock singer Lzzy Hale judging. The winner of this competition will have the unique option to either conduct a recording session with a Grammy winning producer, film a music video, or hold a spot on a major tour or festival. This kind of notice and recognition can only spell good news for the young blues duo and is solid proof that they are the real deal.
With two blistering singles already available on iTunes, “Track Marks” and “Hypnotize Me,” Born Crooked is wasting no time in getting their name out there to establish themselves as champions of the blues. Born Crooked is a bright glimmer of hope and huge stride in the right direction towards keeping the glory of the blues alive.