It's a problem that many acts have wrestled with over the years - the Stones, Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, the Hoax - how to 'progress' from your blues roots but still keep that blues sensibility. The Canadian singer/ guitarist/ producer Colin Linden solves the problem very well on this record, which sounds modern but is based firmly in the blues, while also incorporating country and other American regional music. Colin uses modern production techniques, coupled with old-fashioned proficiency on guitar (particularly his fingerpicking and slide playing) and vocals. The record is dedicated to the late keyboard player Richard Bell, Linden's friend and colleague on over 100 sessions.
The song selection on the CD is excellent and very varied (all written or co-written by Colin apart from Blind Teddy Darby's 'Built Right on the Ground') - from the Willie Dixon-style blues of 'Trouble only comes in 3s' to the very catchy more rocky 'The price you pay'. There are also some wonderful, tender ballads 'Mon coeur est dans les mains', 'John Lennon in New Orleans' and 'Sinking down slow' - with its fabulous guitar solo. Harmonica player Paul Reddick guests on a few tracks including the electric trad blues 'Devilment' which he co-wrote with Colin. The loping, restrained 'Between the darkness and the light of day' is very Ry Cooder as is the closing acoustic 'God will always remember your prayers'. And if I had to describe Colin's style, I'd have to say he works similar territory to both Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal.
Colin may not be a household name in Britain but this is a really good record, very accomplished and you can see why he has been chosen to play with Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Cassandra Wilson, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss amongst many others.