He's played with Johnny Cash, and Kiefer Sutherland has schlepped his guitar. With the debut I Trust You to Kill Me, our You Oughta Know artist Rocco Deluca establishes himself as a bluesman at the crossroads of the 21st century. As he gave us a list of his favorite tunes, he told us all about getting punched by Rage, being gutted by Mavis Staples, and why Bob Marley is like heroin.
Traffic - No Face, No Name, No Number
"Stevie Winwood is my favorite male voice, especially during this period. He just opens his mouth and lets it out. He sounds so natural. You could re-release this today and it would be utterly perfect."
The Zombies - This Will Be Our Year
"I've listened to that song a trillion times. Colin Blunstone sings it so beautifully. And it's so simple. It reminds me that you don't have to try so hard all the time.
Sly and the Family Stone - Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
"The most soulful thing you ever heard, and the perfect example of someone making someone else's song their own. It sounds like you caught them doing that by accident. Whenever I cover something, I try to make it different. If I didn't make it mine or deconstruct it, I wouldn't be able to play it."
Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade
"I was so stoked that there was finally someone who was just bashing with their fists. It's really hard to listen to somebody preach about an issue that you're not aware of. But Rage was able to fire me up about whatever they were saying-even if I didn't understand the issue completely. It seemed bigger than the music."
The Staple Singers - Slow Train
"The Staple Singers is one of the only reasons I even sing today. That family is out of this world. I love Pop Staples and I love the other sisters, but Mavis was like a knife cutting through the wall. She just left you either inspired or gutted. They're like Rage, in the sense that they're singing about something they absolutely believe in."
Stevie Wonder - They Won't Go When I Go
"When I have to hear something that inspires me, I'll put that one on. The work he did was unbelievable, layering on all those separate vocals. I think that particular song caters to his art more than anything I've heard. It's beyond pop music."
Bob Marley - Mellow Mood
"Marley is everything everyone tries to be. He's beyond his music. I like this particular song because it brings what he does down to a simple recording. When you hear that opening line-"I play your favorite song darling. We can rock it all night long."-it's like you just took heroin. It's perfect."
Mahalia Jackson - Were You There?
"The people I really listen to are women. Aside from Mavis Staples, I'd say that Mahalia Jackson is my biggest influence. Her and Billie Holiday are who I try to sound like."
Billie Holiday - Gloomy Sunday
"The recording I have of this song sounds like a mic or two in the room-everything's bleeding into everything. Even Radiohead couldn't get as creepy as she got on that song. It's stunning how haunted she is."
The Zombies - Beachwood Park
"To me, it's a love song, really. There's a bit of darkness. He kind of describes it metaphorically. It comes on really heavy and cool, like a slow drug or something."
Son House - Between Midnight and Day
"He's a conflicted person. I knew it before I knew his history-it's there in his music. He has this conflict over what he's supposed to be and who he is. I think most of us have that, but he was able to translate that in such a way that you had to deal with it right then and there when you played."
The Staple Singers - Sit Down, Servant
"It's about going to heaven. They're so excited that they got there, that they're being asked to sit down. They say, 'I can't sit down because I'm so happy I'm finally here.' There's an emotion in the way that track was recorded. I can't even put my finger on it, it's so good!"
Mississippi Fred McDowell - Shake 'Em On Down
"He has a rhythm that no one else has; it's like this evil train. In a weird way, it connects me right away with Eastern music. He gets a drone going, and it gets a bit obsessive. All of a sudden you're in. And if you really listen, if you really get into it-and I don't think most people would, to be honest with you-there's a lot to learn on that man's plane."
Mississippi John Hurt - Make Me a Pallet on the Floor
"I slept on a few floors and a few park benches myself growing up. But there's something about Mississippi John Hurt that's so sincere and so sweet. He's the total antithesis of Son House and McDowell and Robert Johnson, because he's not coming at you with hell. He comes at you like an angel. It's like things are bad and it's still this beautiful thing."
The Replacements - Answering Machine
"It's Paul Westerberg's love song. He calls up, he's trying to get through to somebody and all he gets is technology instead of a human being. I love the thought of that guy speaking into an answering machine telling it he hates it. Every time I hear it, I imagine Paul writing that song to do with the band. Then after he put it down, he realized it was badass enough on its own."
Traffic - Shanghai Noodle Factory
"I'm surprised more people aren't hip to it. I almost don't want to put it on this list because I'm thinking of doing a cover of it! It's funky and it's psychedelic and it's raw. Traffic at their best."
Learn more about this band on the rise in our You Oughta Know section.