Once again award winning country/blues maestro of vocals and guitar has delivered an album that is different, very special yet 24 carat Ian Siegal in all his guises. The album recorded at Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch in the style of Mississippi Porch approach, where they sat in a semi-circle around old ribbon microphones, played and sang with the old tape machine switched on the old tape machine – Picnic Sessions is the result it is as we played and felt the music it is a natural sound reflecting the mood of the moment.
There is a mix of new, old and something blue and to the 16 tracks Bluesdoodles was delighted to hear live two from an early album Standing In The Morning – How Come You’re Still Here and Beulah Land where you can imagine sitting on a carriage with a pair of horses in hand the dust being kicked up and the sun high in the sky he paints in music and words a musical country embroidery. Love the creativity as Ian goes off piste and we have the sounds of Topol and Fiddler On The Roof, Eastern European beat and swirling of dancers around the fire then seamlessly returning to the original country tempo and beat. Then two favourites from his solo shows and recorded on Man and Guitar – Gallo Del Cielo and Hard Times (Come Again No More) showing the power of these two tracks and how you never hear them done quite the same way twice.
The rest of the album is new tracks including little hidden insights conversation shows how the tracks are being developed on the hoof as heard on Keen and Peachy which has a haunting sound and the first time ever hear car seat and ceviche in the same sentence.
Wasted Freedom is simple guitar and Siegal combo full of poetry of love lost and regrets that cannot be put right it is a compelling song that for me is a Siegal blues delight. There is fun on the album as well with Talkin’ Overseas Pirate Blues, with a spoken intro that is harking back to the style of talking blues and Now Its A Party with the mandolin the perfect accompaniment to create a tune that hints at dancing
This album is not all about Ian Siegal’s guitar and voice it is the musicianship of Cody Dickinson, Alvin Youngbloodheart Luther Dickinson and Jimbo Mathus. The collection of instruments played adds a quality that would never have been found if this was a studio album. It is the fact that they grabbed the nearest instrument and joined in that makes this album an unpolished gem that shines because the mastery is encompassed in the music and freedom of expression and not by magic tricks of the mixing desk and post-production wizardry.
This is not a blues album for the purist but it is a must purchase for everyone who loves free flowing live music that is a meshing of styles and tempos creating a cohesive sound that is Ian Siegal and his Merry Musicians around that virtual campfire.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN + + doodle paws out of TEN ….
Ian Siegal – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Luther Dickinson – Guitar, Mandolin, Mandocello, Bass, Vocals
Alvin Youngblood Hart – Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals
Jimbo Mathus – Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Whoogie Board
Tour Dates – November 2014