Eric Clapton calls him "the most underestimated musician on the planet and also one of the most advanced.” John Hiatt, Junior Wells, John Mayall, Irma Thomas, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Kenny Loggins, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Vince Gill, Bonnie Raitt and hundreds of other world-class artists who have had the privilege to make music with him would emphatically agree. Sonny Landreth’s slide guitar prowess is supernatural.
This is music from the Saturday night dances in Louisiana; the hot and sweaty have a good time dancing, drinking, and looking at all the people. Do not look for the Royal Albert Hall production on this CD, as on his stunning South of I-10 with its myriad "guest artists." The feel for this music is shown by someone who grew up with it. Listen to the respect and feeling he gives to Clifton Chenier's "If I Ever Get Lucky." Try to keep your body and feet from bouncing to the beat of "Sugar Cane" or "Little Linda." Doesn't your eye start to look around for a dance partner, even though you're in your living room? There is solid playing throughout this CD even though the sound is a bit thin at times and the big-name guests are nowhere to be found. It is a solid effort that spans the musical boundaries of all of Louisiana. Cajun, zydeco, blues, and country are all blended together so they are no longer confining, but a homogenous mix. A solid effort.
If you’re already tuned in to Sonny Landreth, you can skip the following prose, get right to the click, and start working with this masterpiece of a blues electric slide course immediately. If by some cruel twist of fate, you have not yet treated your ears to Sonny’s magical slide guitar work AND you yearn to learn electric slide blues guitar — you’ve just hit the jackpot.
The 2010 issue of Mississippi Blues by Sonny Landreth on the Fuel 2000 imprint is not a new album, nor is it a representative compilation of his oeuvre. In fact, the set is a complete repackage of the album entitled The Crazy Cajun Recordings originally issued on CD by Great Britain’s Edsel in 1999. The material dates from 1973 and 1977, recorded with the famed Huey P. Meaux (aka the Crazy Cajun) when he wasn’t touring with Clifton Chenier as part of his Red Hot Louisiana Band. These 20 tracks range from Landreth’s Lafayette, LA-styled take on the acoustic Delta blues solo and with a band that included a mandolin player, an electric bassist, and a drummer to his early electric experiments playing a meld of Cajun-flavored soul, rock, and R&B. The electric slide guitar fury evidenced on his own records from the 1980s onward is all but absent here, but the acoustic slide work is particularly plentiful – check his reading of “I Know You Rider,” “Lazy Boy,” and the stomping “Prodigal Son”.
Louisiana slide master Sonny Landreth takes his time between releases – his last studio disc of original material was five years prior to this – but when they arrive, the wait seems justified. For the debut album on his own Landfall records, Landreth calls in marquee name guitarists Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, and Vince Gill to bolster the visibility factor. Rather than focusing on guitar duals, Landreth wrote songs that incorporate their styles, and occasional vocals, organically into the material. There are plenty of stunning solos of course, but they are integrated into the tunes that stand up just fine without the six-string fireworks. The album's title is a double entendre as "reach" is a body of water and also describes Landreth inviting his guests to be part of the project.
Sonny Landreth’s new album Bound By The Blues marks a return to the slide guitarist’s musical roots. It presents a bold, big-sounding collection of recordings that climb to stratospheric heights of jazz informed improvisation, the best of classic rock, and inevitably remain deeply attached to the elemental emotional and compositional structures that are at the blues’ historic core. Bound By The Blues is a powerful tribute to the durability and flexibility of the genre, and to his own creative vision. Sonny name-checks Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters and some of Landreth’s other musical heroes along the way. He also pays homage to fellow slide guitarist Johnny Winter, with the instrumental “Firebird Blues"…