Friday, May 23, 2014


This is Strongman's first disc since winning the Juno Award for Blues Album of the Year, plus three Maple Blues Awards, for A Natural Fact from 2012.  That disc was a bit different for him, an acoustic one, and here he returns to big electric blues, with lots of uptempo party tunes, full of energy.  His slide playing rips through the tracks, and producer Rob Szabo has put together a full, dynamic band sound that simply doesn't let up through the eleven cuts.

There are plenty of reasons here to show why Strongman leads the pack in making blues albums.  He easily moves from style to style, and tempo to tempo, on all original cuts.  What I Believe is deep and dark and nasty, from the Wolf/Muddy school.  That's followed up by the good humour and bounce of Get Used To It.  With its wordplay, hook likes and big backing vocals, it's worthy of a John Hiatt disc.  We're Goin' Out Tonight has spoken verses and roadhouse choruses, plus a grand story, about hooking up with an old pal who still parties like the old days, while the singer has the kids, job, etc.  Been there, got in trouble.  Then it's down to Texas, for the modern Let Me Prove It To You, blues verses with a soulful chord change in the hook.

Strongman isn't re-invented the blues wheel here, he's just doing it much, much better than most.  Every song here feels like some sort of classic or hit, all the lyrics right, all the stories solid.  Plus, there's a freshness and excitement to the disc, like he was itching to get these recorded and out, to show his electric side equals or betters the acoustic numbers of A Natural Fact.  It all adds up:  Acoustic grace, electric energy, Maple Blues-winning guitar player of the year, and a fine songwriter across genres, Strongman has the perfect last name.

No comments:

Post a Comment