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Popa Chubby mixes his blues with a little Bach

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Popa Chubby had to go "Back to New York City" to "get my blues back."

Actually, life did that for him, including the break-up of his marriage and what the singer, songwriter and guitarist calls "just a lot of stuff."

"When you're a touring musician and you're in the road 200 dates a year, there's going to be those times when you make that phone call home and the voice on the other end doesn't have that 'happy to see you' feeling anymore," explains, the Bronx-born Chubby (real name Ted Horowitz), 52. "That's the blues right there. That's what Muddy (Waters) was thinking about when he sang, 'Hear my baby talking/talk sounds like a long distance call...'

"So there was a lot of really heavy stuff, man. Thank God the music was my catalyst, if you will. It got me through it and made this (album) happen."

The 11-track set includes a cover of Leonard Cohen's "The Future" and ends with an unlikely take on Johann Sebastian Bach's "Jesus Joy of Man's Desire" -- albeit a Popa Chubby take on the classical piece.

"I'm not a classically trained musician -- as you can probably tell from the track," Chubby acknowledges. "But I have an ear. My daughter is a violinist. I heard her playing Bach one day and I just picked it up.

"A few tracks on the record have references from Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, so the classical thing has wafted its way in there, too -- like, 'This would be great if we put a big ol' boogie beat behind it.' The Bach, Beethoven and the blues -- together again for the first time!"

Popa Chubby and the Hatchetmen perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at Callahan's Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Tickets are $20 and $15. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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