Myles Goodwyn – Friends of the Blues 2 | Album Review

Myles Goodwyn – Friends of the Blues 2

Linus Entertainment/Government of Canada

CD: 14 Songs, 43 Minutes

Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues, Ensemble Blues

Blues artists have not only have their signature style of music, but their signature aura as well. The aura of Myles Goodwyn can be distilled in one word: “neighborly.” His voice is so familiar among his native Canadians as to be immediately recognizable. The leading man of multi-selling platinum rock band April Wine returns to his first love – the blues – on this fantastic follow-up to his JUNO-nominated and East Coast Music Award-winning debut in the genre. Friends of the Blues 2 presents thirteen original soul-infused ensemble tracks and one funky cover, “All Over Now” by Bobby Womack. When he sings, Goodwyn sounds like the guy next door that you can always count on, whether in an emergency or for a boisterous barbecue. He doesn’t try anything fancy: no vibrato, crooning, or anything that draws attention away from the instrumentation. Speaking of which, it’s provided by an extensive list of co-musicians. On harmonica to horns to good old guitar, the Friends of the Blues make a tremendous splash.

Goodwyn grew up poor and is the classic “small-town kid makes good” success story. As a young teenager, he honed his skills playing in cover bands and began writing original material as soon as he could play the guitar. One of April Wine’s biggest hits, “You Won’t Dance With Me,” was written while he was still a teen. Myles and the other members of April Wine were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2010. He also received the prestigious East Coast Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, and the SOCAN National Achievement Award in 2002. He’s also written two books: Just Between You and Me and Elvis and Tiger.

Myles (on all lead vocals, guitars and keyboards) is backed by drummers JR Smith, Scott Ferguson, Mike Carrol, and Blair Mackay. Bass players are Bruce Dixon and Richard Pallus. Background vocals are provided by Reeny Smith and Lisa MacDougall. “Featured Friends” are a who’s who of the Canadian blues music scene, including Jack de Keyzer, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Warren Robert, Ross Billard, and several more. For the full list, check the liner notes.

Starting things off is “Hip Hip,” an easygoing boogie with powerhouse piano by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne. Reminiscent of Delbert McClinton and Bruce Hornsby, it features top-notch melody and a convivial atmosphere. “You Got It Bad” is this CD’s first memorable slow number, starring Shrimp Daddy on harmonica, John Campbelljohn on slide guitar, John Main on piano and Ross Billard on organ. “When you said one of us has to go, I didn’t scream or shout. I said ‘I know,’” says the narrator of this song, not so much resigned to his fate as accepting of it. The intro to “Speedo Revisited” adds an old-fashioned touch from the early days of radio. Ms. Wetnight wishes the whole song would have continued in this vein, but it’s nonetheless great. Further down the line are sock-hop-style “Help Me Baby” (dance or die) and the finale, “Even Singing Cowboys Get the Blues.” It’s a tip of the ten-gallon hat to Jimmie Rodgers, yodeling included. It’s so good-natured and gutsy that it could have been the opener.

Friends of the Blues 2 is a dynamite collaboration by Myles Goodwyn and Canada’s superstars!

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