It’s easy to see – or rather, to hear – why Steve Strongman’s latest album, A Natural Fact, has garnered rave reviews, and won awards ranging Maple Blues Awards to the JUNO Award, and received international airplay. Strongman’s sweet, seductive vocals provide the perfect accent to this Canadian singer/songwriter’s acoustic blues.
Anchored by acoustic guitar, accented with just the right amount of percussion, piano, upright bass, and background vocals, this album perfectly captures the spirit of acoustic blues. Strongman’s vocals, however, steal the show away from his impressive guitar playing, and the nice, sparse, and tasteful work of his sidemen. Strongman’s vocals are crisp, clean, and articulate, yet have a captivating power about them, and draw the listener to wade into a deep pool of catchy, well-written tunes.
The album has a fair amount of diversity, ranging from a driving, self-accompanied blues opener, “Haven’t Seen it Yet,” to a Django Reinhardt inspired gypsy-jazz piece in “Full of You,” a slow, gritty blues shuffle in “Rockin’ Chair Blues,” a stripped down piece in “Just One Thing” that features Strongman’s stunning vocals and harmonica, to the gem of the album, “Leaving,” a duet with Suzie Vinnick.
This is a very nice album, with very little lacking. It is rare that an acoustic artist is legitimately good enough to make the listener not miss the band, but Strongman passes that test with flying colors. It would have been nice to see a little more diversity, but in his genre diversity is difficult because of the stripped down instrumentation. Ultimately, Strongman is a good artist who has released an impressive album.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Haven’t Seen it Yet
– Rockin’ Chair Blues
– Full of You
The Big Hit
Review by Nik Rodewald