Tuesday, March 28, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: DOUG COX & SAM HURRIE - OLD FRIENDS
Here's a relaxed and warm set of acoustic blues that feels as old as the hills, and as fresh as this evening's snow (I'm in New Brunswick). Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie have been doing this for 20 years, and know how to classics sound timeless. With just two guitars, usually an acoustic for chords and Cox adding dobro throughout, the pair take us outside ourselves, into that space where we just disappear for a while and listen and feel. I think they call it the blues.
Most of the songs here are classics or traditional, and often they have the spiritual connection, where all the blues came from. "John the Revalator" from Son House is the best-known, a good way to start and set the tone. But the less familiar ones hold more power I think. The take of Charlie Patton's "By and By" is haunting and emotional. Mississippi John Hurt's "Payday" has his trademark good-natured lope, but they slow it down and give it more of a hypnotic drone. The Hank Williams tune "Angel of Death" is far more tuneful in there hands, naturally, but more chilling as well.
There are some modern songs; Willie P. Bennett's "Rains On Me", Guy Clark's title cut, and Cox's own "Dexter's Back", but they all retain that antique quality, and warmth. And as a special treat just for this little ol' New Brunswicker, they do a wonderfully intricate two acoustic guitar version of the fiddle tune St. Anne's Reel, best known from my homeboy, Don Messer. Respect all the way around.