Paul Reddick

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Villanelle Review

by Chris Nickson

Reddick is a talent with a unique vision of the blues. He loves the raw, acoustic, pre-war sounds and makes them the focus of his music. But rather than attempt any slavish copy of the style, he -- along with producer/guitarist Colin Linden, who deserves as much praise as Reddick, being an integral part of the sound -- comes up with an individual take on it, which can range from the soft gospel of "Five Silver Dollars" to "Winter Birds" with its nagging riff and wonderful mix of acoustic and dirty electric guitars. At its best, like with the title cut or "Stones of Indigo," this proves to be a remarkably inventive album, taking clich├ęs of the genre and turning them upside down. And if this was as far as it went, it would be more than adequate. But Reddick's lyrics, influenced by a wealth of poets, are pure gold, literate and mesmerizing, while still falling very much within a blues format. He's also a formidable harmonica player, although he uses it sparingly -- a word that describes much of the disc. Linden injects plenty of space into the proceedings throughout, letting the songs breathe. While the scratchy pre-war sound that's used at times might seem like a gimmick, it actually creates an atmosphere that permeates the entire record, and quite justly. An excellent, and very original, piece of work.

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