Saturday, June 07, 2014

Joel Harrison - Mother Stump (Cuneiform, 2014)

This is a trio album under the leadership of guitarist Joel Harrison along with Michael Bates on bass, Jeremy Clemons on drums and Glenn Patscha on keyboards. The music they make envelops a wide range of textures and hues, from expansive Americana to blues, rock and ballads. The ballad “Dance With My Father Again” is especially poignant for me as I lost my father nearly a year ago, and the poetic lines of the performance bring the loss home with renewed sadness as father’s day approaches. On a lighter note, the group plays the blues beautifully on “Do You Remember Big Mama Thornton?” Thornton was the original singer of “Hound Dog” and was a huge presence in the mid-century blues scene and an influence on the nascent rock ‘n’ roll scene of the 1950’s. The gospel standard “John the Revelator” is given a rocking treatment, as the White Stripes had also done and Son House as well. While House’s version is the definitive version, Harrison combines the garage rock of the stripes to the holy fervor of House to fine effect. This album worked well a as a whole and fans of Bill Frisell’s big sky type of music will feel right at home as a Harrison leads an accessible and enjoyable session. Mother Stump -

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