Steve Lury & Andres Roots – Live In Lerwick | Album Review

stevelurycdSteve Lury & Andres Roots –¬†Live In Lerwick

Roots Art Records

10 songs time-49:28

English harmonica player-singer Steve Lury, Estonian slide guitarist Andres Roots and Estonian bassist Peeter Piik perform a live set recorded at The Shetland Blues Festival in the UK. Scottish drummer Paul Archibald joins in for the final three songs. The combination of Steve’s harmonica prowess and Andres’ fluid amplified acoustic slide guitar along with Peeter’s anchoring bass lines create a modern day country blues effect. Steve’s vocals are more akin to talking, but the lively music bolsters the performance. All but one song are mostly familiar tunes from various blues icons. The interpretations stay quite close to the originals, but the lively interplay of harp and slide add a freshness to the proceedings.

The band’s familiarity with their instruments is readily apparent as they make it sound so easy on the lead-off track, Junior Wells’ “Tomorrow Night”. Rice Miller’s “Born Blind”, usually called “Eyesight To The Blind”, finds the dynamic duo trading off licks while the ever steady bass maintains the beat. United Kingdom town references personalize Tampa Red’s “Rambler’s Blues” that benefits from a rollicking groove.

The sole original song is an instrumental written by Andres entitled “Build Me A Statue” that he lends a lonesome tone to with his excellent slide technique that plays well off the equally lonesome sounding harmonica. Some way wicked slide is all over Robert Jr. Lockwood’s “Take A Little Walk With Me”. At one point the two play some neat tandem notes. The longest song here clocking in at 7:06, Charles Brown’s classic “Driftin’ Blues” gives the guys to stretch out a bit. Speaking of classics, Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues” receives some sinewy slide guitar goodness.

The last three songs are associated with Muddy Waters as a tribute to the great man. Drummer Paul Archibald pops up to compliment the trio for these three. “Gone To Main Street” takes off like a shot. Screaming Banshee slide battles it out with equally intense harp playing. A nice reading of “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” follows. Bringing up the rear is Memphis Minnie’s “What’s The Matter With The Mill”, a song associated with Muddy. Steve says they had to learn this tune quickly, but you surely can’t tell as they are just as sharp here as everywhere else on the CD.

This international gathering of blues loving players will be hard for you to resist many repeated visits to your CD player. They are as tight as a bull’s posterior. I guarantee you many hours of enjoyment from this fine recording. Although most of these songs are readily recognizable to blues lovers, the performances stand on their own merit.

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