The Smoke Wagon Blues Band: The Ballad Of Albert Johnson Review

The Canadian award-winning seven-piece blues group released in 2020 their 8th album, The Ballad Of Albert Johnson. It’s a well-produced album with traditional blues, boogies, ballads, and piano blues. Throughout the 13 songs, it becomes evident all the rapport among the members, showing consistent blues bases and elaborated piano, harmonica, and flute lines.

The first and self-titled song is a blues-ode that narrates Albert Johnson’s saga, the trapper caught by Canadian Police in the woods in the 1930s. “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Fool” and “A Song For Cheryl” are the ballads of the album. One of the piano blues of the album is “Mescaline”, a song where the highlight is the multiple instrument solo, with organ, guitar, and saxophone. In “Lay Say Lay” the piano continues to be the main instrument, giving rhythm and soul for a nice boogie-blues.

Funk blues is represented in “Memphis Soul” and “Sacrifice”, which has a soulful bass solo. “Matapedia River Blues” is a slow blues which describes Quebec’s territory where that river runs. “Can’t Take The Blues” is another boogie where the band’s frontman, Corey Lueck, delivers his steady blues-tailored vocals and a nice harp solo. In “On The Road Again” the band mixes country blues with a jazzy interlude. As the name suggests, “Steaming Comrades Harp Boogie” is a live track where the main role is played by Lueck and his harp.

With The Ballad Of Albert Johnson, the band continues delivering genuine blues-based songs, as occurred with all their previous albums. It’s clear their love and dedication for the blues, cherishing all the blues’ elements, including exquisitely played instruments, soulful vocals, and all the storytelling around the blues. The Ballad Of Albert Johnson is the kind of album that gives blues lovers the necessary certainty that the blues is alive and in good hands.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Ballad Of Albert Johnson
– Mescaline
– Matapedia River Blues
– A Song For Cheryl

The Big Hit

– Ballad Of Albert Johnson

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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