AShES & DuST
This is only the third album that Warren has released under his own name and it shows another interesting facet to his music. To help showcase this deviation from Gov’t Mule and The Allman Brothers, he’s chosen to record with an Americana band called Railroad Earth and it’s a stunning partnership. Warren is singing better than ever it seems. he’s playing a lot more slide guitar too, and it’s hot. Much of the material is new but Warren says some of these songs he’s had around for 20 or 30 years but hasn’t found the right vehicle to release them until now. It’s understandable as there’s a more folksy feel about this album but the material is strong and Warren’s delivery has instant appeal. Stranded In Self Pity is a fascinating track that wouldn’t be out of place in the hot Club repertoire of Django; Gold Dust Woman has some cool slide work and features Grace Potter on vocals; while Coal Tattoo, with its piercing guitar phrases, is a true slice of Americana. It’s a great album, so do check it out. most part is a smooth, cool track so offers a good contrast to some of the speed on show here. As he has done in the past, Jan Hammer guests on the aptly titled Schon & Hammer Now, and the magic they weave together is still there with guitar breaks set against a stripped-down backing. All in all, this is a seriously good outing by Neal that will not only please his fans but will hopefully gain him plenty of new ones. If you’re new to Schon’s talents, you have to give this a listen. Studio tracks, Live recordings and, of course, the Blues. While this collection wins over much of what has been compiled before, these are not obvious tracks so they tend to serve more as a‘sampler’of Eric’s music. For instance, opener, Gotta Get Over comes from the Old Sock album released in 2013 and it’s the choice of the unusual that makes this a great trio of CDs. The live material is more obvious with Cream and Blind Faith tracks represented, which means that the excellent Presence Of The Lord (featuring Steve Winwood) gets an airing. Good to have BB King on the blues CD too. In reality there’s nothing here for the hardcore fan (except for the classy presentation) but for someone discovering Eric for the first time this is cake and icing too.
recorded in New York and Memphis. The Word is a combination of Robert Randolph on pedal steel guitar, keyboardist John Medeski and three members of the North Mississippi Allstars: Luther Dickinson on guitar, bassist Chris Chew and Cody Dickinson on drums and their tight and expressive take on funky soul is very special. Much of the material is instrumental but Ruthie Foster and Amy Helm add gospel vocals to a couple of the tracks. There’s a lot of fun and devotion involved in this album and that comes across well on tracks like You Brought The Sunshine and Chocolate Cowboy. With great interplay between guitar and pedal steel this is a great album to absorb.