Sonny Landreth: Sonny's Boys
Give slide maestro Sonny Landreth a glass cylinder and he’ll show you magic.
Now, the Louisiana bandleader counts down the 12 slide gods who soundtracked his life, from getting spooked as a schoolboy by Robert Johnson to getting smoked at the Crossroads festival by Eric Clapton...
Lafayette, Louisiana, 1967. Neighbours wince, dogs howl and property prices tumble as an ungodly shriek blares from the Landreth house. “It was pretty brutal for my family,” chuckles the 64-year-old of his adolescent attempts at slide guitar. “I remember, I’d just get totally frustrated and throw the thing across the room. Slide sounds bad in the wrong hands, and all hands are wrong in the beginning. I, too, was very much part of that obnoxious tribe."
Strange to think of it now. From his early sideman gigs with Clifton Chenier and John Hiatt, on to 1981’s solo debut Blues Attack, give this man a glass cylinder and he’ll show you magic. Idiosyncratic and eye-poppingly adept, Landreth’s zydeco-infused slide style has never sounded better than on new solo album Bound By The Blues, where it supercharges his originals and shucks fairydust over old chestnuts like Dust My Broom. Ask him if he’s ‘the greatest’, though, and the modest southern maestro gives an emphatic shake of the head. These, then, are the 12 slide galacticos who soundtracked Landreth’s life.