Any Eric Clapton fans who consider him versatile for being able to slip between Armani-clad rock and downhome blues should prepare to have their complacency blown away by the great man's support act for this year's string of Albert Hall dates beginning on Sunday. Although generally described as a blues artist, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who picked up his nickname as a child on account of his loud voice (his musician brother, James, was known as "Widemouth"), defies categorisation. "I refuse to be labelled as a blues player, jazz player, country player, bluegrass player, cajun player, zydeco player, calypso player," he has said. And anybody who witnesses one of his shows has little reason to doubt him. Clad in trademark Stetson and full dude cowboy threads, he shifts easily from C&W ballads to swinging jazz, touching several stops in between. His latest album, The Man (out this week), provides a taster. Ranging from the rollicking R'n'B of Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk" to an idiosyncratic take on the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody", it showcases Brown's knack for pacing and entertainment. Now in his 70s, and an honorary deputy sheriff when not out on the road playing "American music Texas style", he can still be expected to swap his guitar for a violin and stomp out country hoedowns like "Up jumped the Devil". If he does that, you might just forgive his penchant for tearful country ballads.
Royal Albert Hall (071-589 8212) 7.30pm from SunReuse content