Sonny Landreth: Bound By The Blues Review

It has been three years since Sonny Landreth’s last album and Bound By The Blues returns with a tour de force tribute to the Delta blues sound that has been the root of his career. Despite a career with dozens of solo albums spanning everything from jazz fusion, Zydeco, R&B and recordings with Clapton, Buffet, Hiatt, and Mayall, Sonny does not elicit the sort of name recognition that he so rightly deserves. It might be his choice of slide guitar that scares some people off but he has to be one of the best slide players in recent history and he has a unique southern inflection when he sings that makes him easily identifiable.

This album has plenty blues standards including the opening hard rhythmic take on Robert Johnson’s “Walking Blues” where Sonny makes that slide glass skip around the fretboard. Other classic covers include Skip James’ foot stomping track “Cherry Ball Blues,” the slow blues standard “It Hurts Me Too,” Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom,” and the very often recorded “Key to the Highway.” Despite having heard all the covers before they are unique takes on the classics that will have you hitting repeat to listen to them over again.

Although the blues standards are a highlight of the album, the standout tracks are the Landreth originals. The title track “Bound By The Blues” is an acknowledgment to all the great musicians who have played the blues in the past. “The High Side” has a light country rhythm reminiscent of the famous Tulsa sound. “Where They Will” speaks to sitting back and letting the blues take you for a ride. Just relax and let the music guide you and everything will work itself in the end. “Firebird Blues” is tribute to the late Johnny Winter where Sonny’s slide guitar howls and whines as he anguishes over a distorted gritty slow blues. The album closes out with the upbeat instrumental “Simcoe Street” where Sonny just lets that slide fly.

Through a mix of first rate covers treated with the unique twist of his slide playing and well written originals, Bound By The Blues is a great tribute to the source of his inspiration. The playing is top notch throughout the album and the songwriting is superb.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Walkin’ Blues
– Bound By The Blues
– Where They Will
– Firebird Blues

The Big Hit

– Bound By The Blues

Review by Kevin O’Rourke

Buy the album: Amazon

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