Christian Collin: Spirit of the Blues Review

From the infamous crossroads buried deep in Mississippi to singers like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Muddy Waters, the blues genre has collected a ton of icons in its time and turned most into legends. Howlin’ Wolf was a man like any other, with a life to lead and a need to somehow make his time on Earth matter. Every blues musician known by name today was and is the same. What makes them different are the fingerprints each left on the genre, bequeathed for future devotees to study. On his second solo album Spirit of the Blues, out July 10, blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Christian Collin pays tribute to the voices that sang before him.

Collin began playing guitar as a teenager. After spending years on the road and fronting the blues band Molasses, the Chicago-based musician embarked on his first solo project American Art, which was released in 2012. On Spirit of the Blues, Collin comes into his own, producing a slick combination of dance-ready tunes (“One and Only,” “Dance the Blues Away”) with stricken songs about relationships threatened (“Without You,” “A Woman Like You”). Though some of his lyrics fall short (the cliché “Cross my heart now, baby / hope to die” in “One and Only” and recommendation to “score some tail” in “Player’s Game” incite quick eye rolls), the album as a whole reveals an artist with a good handle on the technical and thematic aspects of the blues. The album is fun and real, but tracks like “Dead Man Walking” and “The River (Unplugged)” show that Collin identifies with the genre’s serious side (the same side that dives past a person’s emotional surface into the nitty-gritty struggles of life at its hardest) and finds ways to weave it into his own writing.

When the last chord of the 12th and final track “Forever Friends” fades, “Spirit of the Blues” comes away as the album’s strongest song. Its lyrical content and strong delivery bring Collin’s musical influences to light as he references artists that touched the blues before his time and builds a legend of his own through his retelling. “Forever Friends” reinforces the album’s theme of continuity as Collin sings of holding on to memories despite the persistence of time, a fitting way to close the album. Spirit of the Blues is a lens through which listeners can understand the blues the way Collin does. His interpretation isn’t all-inclusive – how could it be? – but it’s an honest example of the way one style of music can fuel an artist’s way of life.

The Review: 7/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– A Woman Like You
– Spirit of the Blues
– Highway Song
– Forever Friends

The Big Hit

– Spirit of the Blues

Review by Meghan Roos

One thought on “Christian Collin: Spirit of the Blues Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bulk Email Sender