Guest Author - Sue Sutherland-Wood
Steve Strongman has a brand new cd out called Blues in Colour and like Steve’s previous album Honey this one is sure to please blues fans everywhere. I saw Steve play for the first time when he was opening for Buddy Guy last year – a prestigious gig to be sure and again this year, he was billed with Guy as well as the lovely Shemekia Copeland. I was thoroughly impressed with everything about Strongman from his unassuming banter with the crowd to an emotionally charged vocal delivery. He also happens to be a gifted – some might say other-worldly – blues/rock guitarist who can slide with the best. This passionate new record is also predominantly written by Strongman himself or co-written in some cases. What is it about Canada that produces such phenomenal bluesmen … If you interested you can read my review of last year’s Buddy Guy concert here but come right back!
There is a lot of diversity on this record – as much as you can have when you remain true to the blues genre – and Steve shows that he’s every bit as versatile within that framework as he is sincere.
Mean to Me kicks the album off and it’s a fast-paced, jivin’ run that showcases Strongman’s superb skill with his guitar. Hard to believe with the background singers and swelling harp in the background that this is not a good ol’ chestnut from a vintage era – but in fact it is one of Strongman’s own more recent compositions.
Take My Arms is a slow-moving, late night, pulsing number that evokes the spirit of the blues in every way. Esp digging the lyrics on this one: “Take my lips, all they do is speak your name, now that it’s all over, what part of me should I blame?” Steeped in cumulative guitar foreplay, this is a great track and the resulting solo is smoking. Listen up.
Can’t Stop, But I’m Tryin’ will please rock and blues fans alike – sort of a ZZ Top field trip to the swamp … Play it loud in the car, y’all.
The Plain Hard Truth is a hoochie-coochie combo of Muddy Waters-inspired riffs with a rock sensibility laid right on top that really, really works. Love this one.
All in all this is another solid cd offering from Strongman and if you get the chance to see him play live, you must do so. At the very least get the cd and check out his website …