Sonny Landreth
Grant Street
Sugar Hill Records, SUG-CD3994,

POWER TRIO. Grant Street, to be released 01/25/05, truly captures the exhilaration and surging energy of Grammy-nominated slide magician Sonny Landreth’s live shows. New listeners won’t believe Landreth’s many-layered sound is grounded only by David Ranson’s heartbeat bass and Kenneth Blevins’ bright, fast drums. (And as the Goners, John Hiatt calls them "the biggest rhythm box in the world.” “He can't believe we're so old and can play with so much power," says Blevins. "I've played with a lot of bass players, but never with anybody like Dave. He manhandles that sucker!”)

All original music, the vibrant, clean sound is undiminished by the crowd’s audible enthusiasm. Eric Clapton describes Landreth as " probably the most underestimated musician on the planet and also probably one of the most advanced." Hear Landreth’s multi-textured, sophisticated techniques in previously unrecorded songs: “Port of Calling,” a swirling, Latin-tinged, hypnotic, hip-shaker; “Wind in Denver’s” classic moaning 12-bar blues; and “Pedal to the Metal,” an all-out, full-speed rocker.

Each composition offers an extended version here. “Brokenhearted Road” is compelling blues: a subsonic bass introduces a swelling wave of emotion, unstoppable as its screaming strength builds, followed by the old-timey feel of 1981’s “Blues Attack.” “All About You,” a potent, danceable rock and roll number, is a real earth-moving machine, a backhoe relentlessly digging as the ‘dozer roars and rumbles forward.

A key characteristic of this band: everyone is PRESENT, creating a forceful and dazzling energy field, nowhere more evident than on “Congo Square,” Landreth’s purring, growling signature song. Grant Street presents an intense and vigorous collection by a world-class guitarist and singer-songwriter.

Cynthia Horen
originally published in the January/February 2005 issue of Blues News from the Natchel Blues Network