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Blues Round-up: July 2015

Album Review

Henry Yates on new releases from Sonny Landreth, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Datura 4, The Kentucky Headhunters and Heartless Bastards

Sonny Landreth: Bound By The Blues

After 2012’s genre-straddling Elemental Journey – an instrumental fusion complete with bells, whistles and kitchen sink – this album finds Landreth sticking a rusty pin in his own grandiosity and returning to his creative ground zero. Partly, explains the professorial southerner, this is down to badgering from the fans – “They keep asking me: ‘When are you going to do another blues album?’” – but he’s patently enjoying the homecoming.

Landreth’s trump card remains that jaw-dropping slide-guitar technique. Here, his crunching, keening, ants-in-the-pants phrasing makes even mildewed standards like Dust My Broom, Key To The Highway and Walkin’ Blues sound vital, and he sprinkles fairy dust on originals such as The High Side and the barn-burning finale Simcoe Street.

Landreth is singing again – decently, too – but in truth he hardly needs to when he’s able to soothe and strangle his instrument to such an expressive degree. Bound by the blues Landreth might be, but those handcuffs are a mighty good fit. (9/10)

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