BEST LOCAL BLUES BAND (1998)
A cantankerous old coot who goes his own way--meaning outside the orbits of the Blues Saloon, Whiskey Junction, and Viking Bar--Juliano is not universally admired among his peers. No matter: His impassioned vocals can shine on a down-home ballad, or growl through the sleek funk of old hits put out on the Stax label during the 1960s. His backing band, Hot Cup of Blues, bleed some of that finger-popping funk into a fidgety jump-blues style that sounds like Roomful of Blues gone to Memphis, with keyboardist Toby Marshall and bassist Leon McCormick leading the way. Put simply, Juliano's gigs are rave-ups brimming with heart, soul, and sweat--a sweet, messy, hedonistic concoction.