WBGO Radar

Sonny Landreth: "Bound By The Blues"

sonny landreth
Sonny Landreth, according to Eric Clapton, is one of the “most advanced” and “most under-appreciated” guitarists in the world.
 
Landreth’s style has been called slydeco.  He plays slide guitar, inspired by zydeco, the rhythmically rambunctious Cajun music of his native Louisiana.  And he plays the glass slide itself uniquely.  
 
While Sonny slides across the guitar’s frets, with the slide unusually on his pinky, his other left-hand fingers are free to pick, pluck, slap, tap, and even chord on the frets behind the slide.  
 
Landreth also invented his own thumb/flat pick.  No wonder that the sound of Landreth’s Fender Stratocaster sometimes rumbles like water splashing across a river’s rocks.
 
Highlighting the new album Bound by the Blues are standards of the blues  — right up front: Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues.”  
 
Landreth also offers his own takes on other historic blues that have evolved from traditional roots through several generations of blues masters.  
 
“It Hurts Me Too,” “Key to the Highway,” and another of Robert Johnson’s immortalized classics, “Dust My Broom.” “Firebrand Blues” is a growling (yet somehow lyrical) tribute to Johnny Winter.  
 
And maybe the heart of the album is Landreth’s “Where They Will,” with a lyric that shuffles together several of the fundamental metaphors of life’s journey and the music itself: “The blues took me where they will, like the train I’m on to carry me home…"
 
  - Michael Bourne, host of WBGO's Blues Hour

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