What do you get when you mix a former Intel Corporation businessman with his love of the blues? The answer is Canada's newest blues label and it's dedicated to bringing the best in world class blues. President, Fred Litwin, is clear about the goals and direction of NorthernBlues. "I want this company to add substantially to the blues repertoire, and not just come out with the 'same old, same old.' I want NorthernBlues to be a friendly home to Canadian blues artists, and to represent some of the finest, and most interesting, musicians in the world. I don't want just another shuffle - I want originality, I want crossover, I want exciting, I want different, and I want every NorthernBlues Music CD to be exceptional.
Based on the talent demonstrated on the new sampler CD, he is well on his way to achieving these goals. The 5 original songs included are a great example of blues diversity. They are all taken from existing or soon to be released discs. The heart of blues folklore lies in the music of Otis Taylor. His 'White African' disc is already being heralded as the blues album of the year. On it, he delivers deep acoustic blues which tell dark tales as evidenced with lyrics such as: 'they didn't bother to hang me, they just shot me on the spot'. Rita Chiarelli plays a catchy, bayou groove with a zydeco feel to it thanks to the presence of an accordion. It comes as a refreshing change from her more accustomed blues-rock. Twenty year old swinging sensation, JW-Jones, delivers a West Coast instrumental that's dripping with T-Bone Walker licks. The harp work of Paul Reddick featured on the Sidemen's cut is brilliant and meshes nicely with the acoustic slide of guest Joe Louis Walker.
Most record companies wait for a few years before they release a sampler. However, NorthernBlues decided to release a sampler as part of the overall launch of the label. The high quality production and musicianship of the recordings speak volumes for the confidence the infant label has for its few artists. Expect big things from them. In order to receive a promotional copy of the sampler, contact their website.
For CDs, booking and information, contact: NorthernBlues Music, 67 Mowat Ave., Suite 233, Toronto, ON Canada M6K 3E3 Tel (416) 536-4892 or (866) 540-0003 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.northernblues.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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