Album Reviews

Sonny Landreth

Recorded Live in Lafayette

Artist:     Sonny Landreth

Album:     Recorded Live in Lafayette

Label:     Provogue

Release Date:     6/30/2017


Sonny Landreth has been nominated for a Grammy and winning two Blues Music Awards for Best Guitarist and Best Blues Album for Bound by the Blues. So, like most professionals, it was time to capitalize on that hot streak by revealing his talents in a major way: a double album, one acoustic and one electric set , across 93 minutes recorded in his home town with long-time bandmates. It’s his first live album in 12 years. As Landreth says, “If you get your best friends together, you might well find the magic.” That they do, especially on the acoustic set which is really the new, seldom- heard version of his band. Sonny’s slide countered by Steve Conn’s accordion is captivating.

You immediately recognize Landreth from just a few notes. Unlike most guitarists, he plays in a percussive style, combining the slide with fretted notes and finger-picking. It often sounds like more than one guitar. He’s also one of the few to combine zydeco effectively with blues, as if it were his own genre that has been dubbed “Slydeco.” Across the two discs you’ll hear many of his acclaimed tunes like “Bound By the Blues,” “Back to Bayou Teche,” “True Blue,” and “The U.S.S. Zydecomobile,” to name a few. Unique interpretations of “Key to the Highway” and “Walkin’ Blues” are blended with a new tune, “Soul Salvation” and one that goes way back to 1981, the opener on the acoustic album, “Blues Attack.” Dave Ranson on bass and Brian Brignac on drums anchor the rhythm section and Sam Broussard (guitars) and Steve Conn (keyboards) round out this killer band.

This is a must-have for Landreth devotees and a showcase of exemplary musicianship. If, on the other hand, this is your introduction to Landreth, you will be awestruck by his mastery of the guitar and the energy inherent in both sets. This is as good a live album as you’ll hear this year. Count on it.

—Jim Hynes

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