Artist: The Reverend Shawn Amos
Album: The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You
Label: Put Together Records
Release Date: 10/16/2015
This is a guy who sure knows how to rock; a blues-sailor riding the storm, switching from gospel through R&B rocky-torrents to pretty straight, full-on modern blues, with both eyes wide open and anchored in tradition.
His gospel cred is clear given his moniker, and the opener in this twelve-track release, “Days of Depression,” features pure-gold support from one of the best – the Blind Boys of Alabama– a flavor that hints at what’s packaged and lying in store. Amos positively rips along at times with some barreling boogie-woogie, here coupled with the scorching, soul voice of Missy Andersen on one track and double-Grammy nominee saxman Mindi Abair on yet another, Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City,” a number that rocks and rushes along with confident ease.
Amos either wrote or co-wrote almost everything in this fine mix, and his harp playing is subtle and poised, a welcome feature successfully avoiding the often prevalent, commanding, demanding wail of many bluesmen. Modern Americana-R&B-cum-country is also represented with a fine, drum-driven take on Minnie Lawler’s Illinois prison bangle “Joliet Bound,” here slipped into soulful effect with delicious fretwork from guitarist Chris ‘Doctor’ Roberts around the half-way mark.
This is simply a strikingly strong blues album full of quality flourishes and touches. It should easily please most modern-blues lovers, keeping their interest and attention alive and warm, with variety of material, style – electric, soul, R&B and acoustic – and pace all guaranteed.
– Iain Patience