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Villanelle (Northern Blues)

Reviewed by Eric Steiner

With Villanelle, Paul Reddick's back on Northern Blues with a solo CD that harkens back to the prewar blues of Sleepy John Estes and two of my favorite bluesmen nicknamed Mississippi: John Hurt and Fred McDowell. A few years ago, Paul's outing with The Sidemen, Rattlebag, was one of my favorite CDs, and it also garnered him widespread nominations from Canadian music awards, including the 2002 Juno and Maple Blues Society competitions. South of the border, the band was up for a W.C. Handy award for Best New Artist. On Villanelle, producer Colin Linden is back on guitar, and he's recruited Richard Bell on keys (Janis Joplin), Stephen Hodges on drums (Tom Waits, John Hammond) and multinstrumentalist Jeff Hermes (Rick Holmstrom, Rod Piazza). The CD's title is taken from the style of an old work song, and Paul updates a classic blues form for the 21st century. Listen to "So Long, Thank You, Goodbye" or "Hook's in the Water" and you'll hear a century of worksongs in Paul and Colin's hands. Villanelle will propel Paul Reddick into the finals for next year's blues awards, and I hope he crosses the stage at the Handys, the Maple Music Awards, or at the Juno awards for Villanelle.

Track List:

Winter Birds * Big Not Small * Villanelle * Luck in Love * Waves * So Long, Thank You, Goodbye * Round This Time of Year * Five Silver Dollars * Six Was the Six * Hook's in the Water * Blue Eventide * Stone of Indigo * Burning Fuse * Dog Catcher * Some Afternoon Alone

© 2004 - Eric Steiner