June 5, 2015 Sonny Landreth – Bound By the Blues (Album Review)
Sonny Landreth, aka “the King of Slydeco,” is set to deliver a Blues masterpiece with his first Blues album since 2003’s The Road We’re On. The Lafayette, Louisiana based guitarist released his first album in 1981, and throughout his career, he has experimented with a variety of genres and styles including Jazz, Zydeco, Folk, Rock, and even Classical. Although he is not necessarily a household name, Landreth has a devoted fan base, among whom he can count Eric Clapton, and he is highly respected for his unique approach to his instrument. On his thirteenth album, Bound By the Blues, set for release June 9th via Provogue Records, Landreth gets back to basics and returns to the Blues he is most loved for, with a mix of classic covers as well as some new songs.
The first track, “Walking Blues,” is a straightforward traditional Blues song, first made famous by Robert Johnson. Easygoing and relaxed, it conjures up images of someone sitting on a porch rocking chair, a dog asleep at his feet, watching the steamboats roll down the Mississippi. With Landreth’s signature slide guitar, deep licks, stomping beats, and lyrics about hard times, this is exactly what comes to mind when thinking about a Blues song. New track “Bound By The Blues” is smooth and full of hope, a song about how the blues can unite the world in peace and harmony. “The High Side” has some lovely twangy guitar and lots of resonance. It moves along with a sway that leaves the listener feeling tranquil and chilled. Tampa Red’s classic, “It Hurts Me Too” has a Sunday morning vibe – laid back and timeless. Rich and indulgent, “Where They Will” meanders like a river, washing over the listener and drowning him in the Blues.
A Rock and Roll track tinged with slide guitar, Skip James’s, “Cherry Ball Blues” is a typical Blues lament about a woman doing wrong, while “Firebird Blues” is a lavish instrumental and a fine example of how to play the Blues and a fitting tribute to the late Johnny Winters. Women treat men mean is the theme for “Dust By Broom.”, another Robert Johnson song made famous by Elmore James. Here, the lush slide work and a swing feel lend the track a cheerful disposition. The Charlie Segar stanard,”Key To The Highway” takes the traditional rambling Blues approach with a walking bass to keep listeners company as they travel down the road. Lastly, “Simcoe Street,” with its up-tempo rhythms and joyous air, is an energetic instrumental that will make listeners want to dance as it brings the album to a close.
It is fair to say that if one were going to write out the formula for the perfect Blues album, Bound By the Blues would be a good way to describe how to do it. This album has everything one would want from a Blues recording. It is skillfully set out, and for all those fans of Landreth’s who have been asking him for a Blues album, this will more than satisfy their cravings. The album does disappoint a little in that it sticks so close the traditional ideas of what Blues is about. Landreth takes some absolute classics from the world of Blues and does them justice. Overall, Bound By the Blues is an excellent album worth of any Blues fan collection. In support of the release, Landreth has a busy summer of festivals and shows planned all around the US, so be sure to check him out. CrypticRock Bound By the Blues 4 out of 5 stars.