Mato Nanji, the stellar guitarist, singer and songwriter of Indigenous releases his Vanguard debut, Chasing the Sun. Considered one of blues-rock's most exciting talents, Mato is forging his own way as the face of Indigenous. Mato first formed the band with his brothers and sister back in the late '90s. They released Things We Do in 1998 and the family band from the Nakota Tribe of South Dakota never expected the mass reception they received from the blues and rock communities. As with some bands that are together for a long time, the siblings were eager to try new directions and explore their own musical potential. Now, this new Indigenous CD, Chasing The Sun, finds Mato expressing himself as never before. His songs, his instrumental skill, always critical to the band's success, thrust his abilities to the spotlight. Some of the highlights on the CD include 'Runaway' and 'The Way You Shake'. with all the Indigenous trademarks: explosive guitar hooks, inventive solos, and an inexorable sense of rhythm ala Jimmy Reed. 'Fool Me Again', one of the disc's pivotal moments and first single, finds Mato in Robert Cray mode, with a gorgeous guitar motif, inspired solos and the record's most memorable chorus. Produced by Indigenous and Steve Fishell, Chasing The Sun, is sure to bring Mato a step closer to being hailed as the next great guitar hero!
Though the name "Indigenous" reflects frontman Mato Nanji's heritage as a member of the Nakota tribe, on Chasing the Sun
he sounds more like a member of the tribe of Stevie Ray Vaughan soundalikes. Not that this is necessarily a problem when the songs are so strong, the singing so soulful, and the guitar playing so striking. (Even Vaughan was initially typecast as an imitator of Jimi Hendrix, whose influence permeates the guitar tone on this album's "I'll Be Waiting" and "Leaving.") Whereas Indigenous earlier featured Nanji fronting a family band, these days he pretty much is
Indigenous (though sidemen still include his bassist brother Pte). The opening "Runaway" channels so much of Vaughan's signature style that listeners might well mistake it for Stevie Ray, though the album ultimately extends its range to encompass the Allmanesque balladry of "Come on Home" and the bluesy twist given Bob Dylan's closing "Born in Time." What he lacks in originality, Nanji offsets with chops and conviction. --Don McLeese