Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CD Review: Brandon Isaak “Bluesman’s Plea”

Brandon Isaak

Here is the U.S. we’ve got Keb Mo’, Sweden has Eric Bibb and up in Canada they have Brandon Isaak. Isaak showcases his love for acoustic blues, a vintage “lo fi” sound and simple arrangements on Bluesman’s Plea". It’s traditional guitar blues and it appeals to the soul as well as the ear. What’s even more impressive is that Isaak isn’t serving up old songs. These are all new, original songs written by Isaak. They 'play’ out like a biography, which is exactly what they are. True stories of love, life and death and a few stops, bumps and revelations along the way.

It’s Brandon Isaak’s life set to blues, gospel. ragtime and country sounds. An interesting touch is that on a couple of tunes there is added bits and pieces of radio broadcast news, what sounds to be audience cross talk, and other little snippets that don’t exactly fit the vintage sound, but work oh so well here to perhaps highlight the songs meaning.

Brandon plays guitar and ‘foot percussion’, harmonica and bass while his brother Chris acted as recording engineer and provides some simple drums and backup vocals. It’s ear candy, a period of life set to music. Take a listen.

“Bluesman’s Plea” by Brandon Isaak

Isaak is best known as a front man and songwriter for the Canadian Jump Band, The Twisters based out of Vancouver, B.C.. he’s been hailed as a great blues guitarist and was nominated in 2010 for Song Writer Of The Year at the Maple Blues Awards. Over the years he has also been able to fulfill the dream of performing with some of his favorite musicians and influences; Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Taj Mahal, Colin Linden, Jeff Healey, Joe Lewis Walker and Kenny Wayne to mention a few. Vocally, in place he reminds me of Delbert McClinton, other places he channels Taj, then some of the gospel infused tunes bring back some of the great country blues singers of the ‘30s and ‘40s.

“Leavin’ This Town”

There’s some great blues music coming out of the frozen north and Brandon Isaak is leading the pack. You can download the CD from Isaak’s site or iTunes of course. You can also catch him in concerts and shows all over Canada and hopefully very soon, the states. Check here for show dates.


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Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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