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Bill Bourne and the Free Radio Band - Bluesland (Linus Entertainment)

Star rating: 
3

With this first time collaboration with son Pat Bourne, whose electric guitar is prominent throughout, Alberta-based bluesman and multiple Juno Award nominee/winner Bill Bourne is on form on each of these eight cuts, with his distinct vocal cutting through like a razor sharp knife. Some of the sweetest passages on the album however, come through the guitar sparring of Pa Joe and Pat Bourne whose complementary and contrasting guitar styles make an exciting and highly listenable blend. What makes this work particularly well, is that Pat's youthful wailing and often distorted guitar is kept back in the mix, whilst Joe's sweet and smooth passages are clearly defined on top; this makes the arrangements on BLUESLAND particularly special. With one traditional country blues song, Columbus Stockade Blues, presented here as a Saturday night juke joint foot-tapper, together with the one cover, Bob Dylan's Maggie's Farm, the eight songs include the outstanding On the Sunny Side, a soulfully drifting ballad incorporating some fine guitar playing, once again courtesy of Pa Joe and Pat Bourne. Produced by Cowboy Dan the Riverman, the rhythm section is provided by Moses Gregg on bass and Miguel Ferrer on drums. Bill's frequent collaborations with the likes of Alan MacLeod, Shannon Johnson, Lester Quitzau, Madagascar Slim, Aysha Wills, Eivør Pálsdóttir, Wyckham Porteous and Jasmine 'Jas' Ohlhauser, clearly demonstrates a desire to explore several musical boundaries such as Blues, Cajun, Latin, Funk and World Beat, these explorations continue with the Free Radio Band and with this album. 

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky