Small is a singer and guitar player with a background in both bluegrass and Chicago-style blues, and he puts a combination of both playing styles to use for this offering of covers of famous blues tunes. A version of Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More” where Small growls out the lyrics while accompanying himself on Dobro is a perfect example of how the two genres overlap.

Small contributes just one of his own tunes, the hot-rodding “Boogie Woogie Guitar Man;” otherwise even the most casual of blues fans will recognize many of the numbers here. With almost every song performed acoustically, it’s easy to hear Small’s talent, especially on Willie Dixon’s classic “Little Red Rooster” where he squeezes incredible tones out of a 1947 Martin guitar, tossing in lightning-fast flourishes where the song’s spare arrangement allows.

Small plugs in only once, cranking up his Telecaster to achieve the scratching buzz required for a cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Bang Bang Bang Bang,” elsewhere it's clear-as-a-bell acoustic picking on chestnuts like “61 Highway,” “Catfish Blues” and “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Blacks, Whites & the Blues is currently available.