Michael Jerome Browne – That’s Where It’s At! | Album Review

Michael Jerome Browne – That’s Where It’s At!

www.michaeljeromebrowne.com

Borealis Records

14 songs time-43:11

Canadian Michael Jerome Browne presents acoustic interpretations of soul music and its’ various roots via his skilled finger style guitar playing and slightly weathered and soulful voice. He receives drum accompaniment from John McColgan on five songs and additional vocals by Eric Bibb, Harrison Kennedy and Roxanne Potvin on four songs. Michael’s strong guitar tone is a thing of beauty that astounds throughout.

The lead off funky acoustic guitar and drum instrumental “Don’t Ask Me Why” showcases his guitar talent right off. “Black Nights” introduces the listener to Michael’s rustically soulful voice over his finger style and slide guitar techniques. Stevie Wonder’s “Skeletons” is just about as funky you can get with some “herky jerky” guitar rhythms. Another Canadian stalwart Harrison Kennedy blends his voice together with Michael’s on the traditional spiritual “Pharaoh” to great effect.

The masterful singer-songwriter Eric Bibb trades verses on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right”, a meeting of two warm and inviting voices. The original “Love’s A Funny Thing” is a jaunty and pleasing little ditty. Roxanne Potvin duets on the original melancholy “Remember When” with just guitar accompaniment. Backed by drums Michael and his guitar commit a strong take on Al Green’s “Here I Am(Come And Take Me)”, even managing the signature riff.

Randy Newman’s tail of a devastating storm “Louisiana 1927” drips with images of history. Michael dusts off his harmonica on Sam Cooke’s “Somebody Have Mercy” to go along with his rhythmic acoustic guitar playing. The lovely instrumental “Curtis’ Blues” offers up a nice change of pace. Harrison Kennedy returns to trade verses on Don Robey’s “That’s The Way Love Is”. A good version of a strong chestnut.

The heart felt original “Where Is The Song?” reflects on the fact that the spirit of events remains with us. “Pharaoh(Reprise”) this time done with a fretless gourd banjo closes out the CD on a religious bent.

The old cliché “Less is more” surely applies here in the hands of a deep feeling artist like this. The combination of his enticing guitar tone, warm vocals and heart touching lyrics makes for a truly enjoyable listening experience. A really nice respite from the usual onslaught of raging blues-rock guitar bands.

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