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'The Wanderer' Has Got the Blues

Dion's latest solo album is titled <em>Son of Skip James</em>.
George Rose
Getty Images
Dion's latest solo album is titled Son of Skip James.

Dion DiMucci used to sing rock 'n' roll hits: That's him on "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer." But he says he's always really been a blues singer. His new CD, Son of Skip James, is his second blues album.

DiMucci says he grew up listening to Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed, so performing the pop hit "Teenager in Love" was a stretch for him. At the height of his success, he befriended other musicians, including his blues heroes, like Skip James. DiMucci says he met the blues legend at the Newport Folk Festival, and they became friends. He says that using James' name in the title of his record represented a kind of mission statement for the project.

According to DiMucci, covering the blues songs on Son of Skip James was an act of reverence for him. He calls the writers and original performers of these songs "backwoods genius poets" and defines their brilliance as "the distance between what they were doing and what everyone else was doing."

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