From the Dust
Review Date: October 2007
by Danny Murray
It seems like Rory Block is in a good place. At, I would guess, an age of just over 50, and 20 or so records to her name, she has never looked or sounded better. This album features her guitar, and her voice, and her songs. Mostly originals, hill country, gospel inflected, self revelatory and pure. It makes you want to be where she is taking you; on the road, with her dogs, over the hill, her loves, her losses, all revealed. Take us with you, on that new touring bus with the gray leather seats, to the backyard of your farm, and let us cuddle with your dogs, and listen to your heart felt lyrics, and gaze longingly at the rain, and your reassuring smile.
If you like hill country guitar played by a beautiful woman with a great voice than you should buy this. A simple concept, a girl and her guitar doesn’t always reap such great results. Coffee-house sound with out the grating cappuccino makers and the rumble of the disparate conversations and tinkling of cups. Just a girl and a guitar and a living room, preferably one with a fire and a comfy couch, because you may not wish to get off the couch until the last chord is stroked, the last song sung.
The format is such that original music hugs four tunes by Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, Son House and Robert Johnson. Paying tribute to the influences that brought her to this point in her career. Her rendition of I Be Bound is very affecting and deep, and must have put her dogs ( and Muddy) to sleep with a smile on their snout. Fargo Baby, an original, however is meant to wake you up in the morning with urgency and determination. This song is one of my favorites because of its Bob Dylan style story telling, and infectious beat.
I was introduced to Ms Block in Gone Woman Blues and Best Blues and Originals, 2 of her previous productions. Judging from the cover of this, her newest venture, From the Dust, she is getting better looking with each record. Judging from a listen to the inside she is confident, wise and reverential to the road she has traveled thus far, which, as near as I can see, is as far as any living woman can get playing hill country soul blues with stinging guitar. OUCH!
The beauty of this performance is the simple guitar work that allows us to hear every note, and practically look down her tonsils as she sings, that’s how close we seem to be.
Most of us would gladly die after hearing this record, if we knew we could return to this life as one of Rory’s dogs.
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