FAME Review: Sonny Landreth - Elemental Journey
Sonny Landreth - Elemental Journey

Elemental Journey

Sonny Landreth

Available from Sonny Landreth's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This is the slide guitar master's eleventh disc and his first all instrumental work. For this disc, which in some ways reflects the music that influenced him as a musician, he concentrates on the instrumental side of the scale and leaves his vocals in the booth and then enlisted the help of a few of his friends to add layers onto complex pieces of this work that he also produced. He has regular band-mates David Ransom on bass, Steve Conn on keyboards, and Tony Daigle engineered and mixed the disc; on drums he has Brian Brignac, Doug Belote, or Mike Branch all of whom he has worked with before. The special guests come in the form of Joe Satriani who adds to the savage Gaia Tribe with a feral bestial solo, Eric Johnson on the drifty floaty Passionola, and Robert Greenridge's steel drum work to the tropical Forgotten Story. This disc with out lyrics is almost like a Monet painting leaving a lot of space for the listener to caste impressions of what he is hearing.

The music here is wide ranging going from his early Zydeco work with Clifton Chenier, to jazz influenced tropical music, to the addition of the depths provided by the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mariusz Smolij with strings arranged by Sam Broussard. This playing with a symphony orchestra gives him another added weapon to use in his attachment on the music landscape. There is a sharp focus and raw electricity in these pieces that keeps them from drifting into the neither land of some Progressive Rock pieces. These songs are in some ways a far cry from the songs on Levee Town (reviewed here) or Grant Street (reviewed here), and yet they are a part of a continuum; they are sonic stories for the listener's imagination to run with as opposed to being constrained by the meaning in the lyrics. Sonny's playing is as passionate and electrifying, perhaps even more so than usual because the lyrics aren't there to constrain and restrict. A stunning piece of work that stands on its own feet.

Track List:

  • Gaia Tribe
  • For You And Forever
  • Heavy Heart Rising
  • Wonderide
  • Passionola
  • Letting Go
  • Elemental Journey
  • Brave New Girl
  • Forgotten Story
  • Reckless Beauty
  • Opening Sky

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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