AShES & DuST

Guitar Techniques - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

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.

Provogue/Mas­cot

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.

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