This new disc from this Canadian singer, guitar player, producer, writer, and who knows what all else, continues his string of excellent discs put out under his name. This one is slightly different from his previous ones in that he doesn't write most of the songs (only four of the thirteen), however he goes to the songs of people such as Blind Willie McTell, Sleepy John Estes, and T Bone Burnett, does his interpretations of their songs, and he still says this is one of the most personal of all the records he has made. This disc displays the time, effort and care that he puts into every facet of his music: it is well produced (he was the producer); the songs are carefully recorded' he and long time cohort John Whynot are responsible there; the musicianship is superb; and there is a retro feel to the disc that does not pander to the times, a very delicate balance was achieved.
This is a foray into the realm of using predominately acoustic instruments; the bass is handled by Larry Taylor playing an upright bass; Stephen Hodges is on drums; and Mr. Linden handles vocal, guitar, mandolin, and electric bass on Champ. He is stripping down the music to its barest essentials and leaving no room to hide. For those of you more used to his electric playing on, Through The Storm, Through The Night, or, Raised by Wolves, the startlingly good playing is there, only the electricity is missing, and to balance it out his singing is to the front and even more full of feeling. He is still the same extraordinary player and singer and here he lets it show in an unadorned fashion. Perhaps it is that he is feeling much more confident, a guess won't be hazarded here, but this is a disc to listen to and enjoy for its brilliant musicianship and stunning diversity within the blues genre.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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