Louisiana slide master Sonny Landreth takes his time between releases -- his last studio disc of original material was five years prior to this -- but when they arrive, the wait seems justified. For the debut album on his own Landfall records, Landreth calls in marquee name guitarists Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, and Vince Gill to bolster the visibility factor. Rather than focusing on guitar duals, Landreth wrote songs that incorporate their styles, and occasional vocals, organically into the material. There are plenty of stunning solos of course, but they are integrated into the tunes that stand up just fine without the six-string fireworks. The album's title is a double entendre as "reach" is a body of water and also describes Landreth inviting his guests to be part of the project. The water theme appears in a few post-Katrina songs like the scathing "Blue Tarp Blues ("Air Force One had a heck of a view, lookin' down on the patchwork of the blue tarp blues") and others such as the bluesy "Storm of Worry," featuring Clapton's trademarked licks. Dr. John pays a house call on "Howlin' Moon," bringing his New Orleans piano and backing vocals to a second line burner that shifts into harder-edged rock but maintains its inherent Crescent City vibe. Jimmy Buffett, who sings backing vocals on the track, is virtually inaudible. The lovely ballad "Let it Fly" slows down the mood and sounds somewhat like something that Landreth's old boss John Hiatt might write. Ford sings and plays on "Way Past Long," a terrific meeting of the minds where both contribute guitar and vocals to a funky stomper that is a true collaboration and one of this album's many highlights. Guitar freaks will salivate over the raging instrumentals "Uberesso" and "The Milky Way Home" the latter where Landreth trades riffs with Eric Johnson, whose own style complements that of the headliner. At just over 45 minutes, it's over too quickly, but there isn't a wasted note here. The songs are some of Landreth's most heartfelt, his singing is emotional and understated, the production (Landreth with Tony Daigle, who also engineered) perfectly captures these performances in their swampy glory and the playing, by everyone, is inspired. The guest guitarists do their jobs well, but this would be a strong project even without them, and is surely one of Landreth's finest sets to date.
AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz