Indigenous Vanishing Americans

Indigenous - Vanishing Americans
Blues Bureau Int'l
2013

CD Review by Scott Thomas

Once again, I've been lucky enough to grace another energetic rocker of an album by Mato Nanji and his fresh and amazing band Indigenous. The new outing is rightfully named "Vanishing Americans".

Indigenous is an American blues-rock group that came to prominence in the late 1990s. Their music is heavily influenced by guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as Jimi Hendrix. Mato formed the band with his two brothers and sister back in the late ’90s. They released their much-talked about debut, Things We Do, in 1998. While the band’s growling electric blues was totally legit and truly exciting, the little family band from the Nakota Tribe of South Dakota never expected the incredible, widespread reception they got from the blues and rock communities. “It was really surprising,” says Mato, of the siblings’ success. “We never anticipated the band going national so soon.” But so it did, and over the course of five years, Indigenous rode a wave of promise and acceptance they never dreamed of. Then, after two more studio albums and a live set, life interceded again. Indigenous unexpectedly broke up. “There’s always some sort of conflict in every band in the world,” says Mato. “With us, we grew up together in this band, and we were still learning about ourselves and what we were capable of as musicians. After being together for so long, everyone was eager to try new directions.”

All of which means that today, despite the changes, Mato is forging his own way as the face of Indigenous, still and again one of blues-rock’s most exciting talents. “I feel really good about moving forward,” he says.

The new Indigenous album, "Vanishing Americans", finds Mato expressing himself as never before...

As I sit here and listen to the majestic opener "Everything You Need" which is a straight ahead rocker and pure Indigenous signature sound I can't help but feel that Mato is on top of his game. On the next tune, "Lonely Road" shows off Mato Nanji's trademark deep voice, up-tempo blues vamp with smoking hot riffs. "Don't Let Them Drive You Away" is a righteous sing along tune with imaginative writing and great vocal harmonies. Song number four "Cold Hearted Woman" is all down and dirty blues pouring from his tortured heart and he communicates these emotions not only through his deep vocally endowed lyrics but also with his crying wailing guitar. As we move forward, the catchy music "Take Me Back" is another uplifting foot tapping number that is electrifying and still very personal. "Can't Cry No More" a dark and heavy soulful groove that is haunting yet richly entailed work. The guitar performance is hard-driving and impeccably played.

Vanishing Americans combines the best elements of past Indigenous CDs, with some rootsy influences from artists like Jr. Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside yet again retaining the retro blues rock edge of artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Cream. Mato Nanji is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive blues rock players/singers on the circuit today.

As I listen to the rest of these thirteen hard hitting blues tracks I can't help but enjoy the mastery in Mato's guitar playing and singing all the while dig’n the magical blues rock atmospheres he creates. The music at times is powerful yet timeless. Mato's vocals are sounding better than ever which he highlights in the song "Always With You" and “I’ll Keep Standing”.

In closing, this album is a true milestone for Indigenous... Full of exciting songs, wailing guitars, and time proof music. Mato Nanji is sounding better than ever !!!