There's no lie in the low-key fire of Son Little, the American singer and songwriter born Aaron Livingston, the son of a preacher man. The music of his 2017 album, New Magic, is a mix of southern acoustic sounds, chilled neo-soul and minimalist R&B. He sings that he's "got the blue magic," which could be meaningless – or could mean everything.
According to a note accompanying the album release, the term "blue magic" is something that came to him spontaneously. "I hadn't seen that phrase anywhere or heard anyone say it," explained Little, an artist seemingly influenced by gospel singer Washington Phillips, soulman Bobby Womack and, on the song Bread & Butter, Amy Winehouse. "But I said it, and then there's a pressure to back it up, to support that claim."
These things happen: Once Muddy Waters sang "I'm a rolling stone," he had to be one. Conversely, the ill-fated Robert Johnson sang I'm a Steady Rollin' Man, which he was not. And look what happened to him.
Little is committed to his own alchemy. As for his audience, they can make up their owns minds. So far his charms have been convincing.
Son Little plays the Horseshoe Tavern on Nov. 21, 8:30 p.m., $20. 370 Queen St. W., 416-598-4226 or ticketfly.com.