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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Stony Plain Records artist: Colin James - Open Road - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Open Road, from Colin James and I really like it. On James' landmark 20th release, James covers some classic blues tracks and adds some of his own. Opening with Tony Joe White's As the Crow Flies, James cranks out a real driving boogie with stinging lead guitar, backed by Geoff Hicks on drums, Norm Fisher on bass and Simon Kendall on keys. Strong.  Albert King's Can't You See What You're Doing To Me, is up next and with Chris Caddell on rhythm, Steve Hilliam on sax, this is another potent track with excellent phrasing by James. Magic Sam's That's Why I'm Crying fits in perfectly with it's slower pace, giving James a chance to stretch a bit with soulful vocals and nicely crafted solo lead. Excellent! James original, When I Leave This House, has a country rocking honky tonkin feel that will get you moving. James really plays guitar to this one with a nice flair and the addition of Jesse O'Brien adds real sauce. Very cool! Otis Rush's It Takes Time, a long time favorite on the blues rock scene, gets a moderate workover and James it right there with his guitar to add the spark. Fisher really lays heavy on the bass which is great and the addition of harmonica by Steve Marriner and bari sax by Jerry Cook, cooks the track. Another original James track, There's A Fire, really brings the pace down but turns up the heat. James' vocals are really strong and his lead guitar work is smoking. This is definitely one of my favorites on the release and likely to be a fan favorite in concert. A really cool take on Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry brings to mind Leon's redo of this track back in the 70's. I don't think anyone's come close since but this is a real nice deal. The rhythm is loose and slinging and with James on slide, and some hot sax work by Hilliam, a great track. Wrapping the release is Eddie Floyd's classic,  I Love You More Than Words Can Say, again really parlaying the strength of James' soulful vocals and includes a brief but potent dash of guitar edge. This is a fine release and one I really enjoy listening to.

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