Album Reviews

Sunny Lowdown = Down Loaded

Down Loaded

Artist:     Sunny Lowdown

Album:     Down Loaded

Label:     Self-Released

Release Date:     10.06.2017


Listen to Muddy Waters. Currents of the mighty Mississippi and its Delta mud rose up when he sang the blues. Lightnin’ Hopkins caused storms to flash in his jazzy, poetic phrases. To play the blues nowadays with the moniker Sunny Lowdown? That requires first class delivery of the goods. Fortunately, every song on Down Loaded—seven originals and five well-chosen covers—demands attention by way of striking solo performances in mostly, the country blues vein. Several of them are lowdown, the sunny aspect justified by a few bright beams of levity. One of them, “Texting Blues,” updates old musical twists for this updated world of ours.

The overall impressiveness of the album, Lowdown’s second, derives from the man’s long experience. You see, Sunny Lowdown was born Louis X. Erlanger, and he’s always relished the blues, instilling it into his playing in the original 1970s Mink DeVille, the late, great Willy DeVille’s New York new wave cabaret rockers. In the decades since, Lowdown’s obviously concentrated on his fingerstyle playing.

Right off, in the title song, his proficiency calls to mind the quality and tone of some of the best old Texas and Mississippi blues pickers. In voice too, slightly echoed, Lowdown makes these songs come across as vintage. In “Before I Leave This Town,” he sings to his lover that her devotion, and the thoughts of her lips and her swinging hips, are all he needs to keep him alive on his journey. You can practically see the broken, dusty road ahead of him. A tentative glide through J.B. Lenoir’s “I Had My Trouble” evokes the absolute definition of the blues in the matter at hand, and in its recitation. He follows that with “A Girl I Once Knew,” an original airy ditty that anyone can appreciate. The best thing about the blues is just that—the most successful practitioners are universal players of an eternally universal music style. The absolute best of them can make the blues fresh and engaging every time, for anyone. Sunny Lowdown does that. But he also boogies well with himself at the end in “That’s Enough,” which proves that it never may be enough with this guy.

Drive, spirit, spookiness—all the elements are here, Down Loaded.

—Tom Clarke




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