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Album Review

As its title implies, this is a spiritually based collaboration from three distinct — even disparate — yet surprisingly harmonious voices. Mostly, but not entirely acoustic, the trio of rootsy singers trade lead vocals on smooth jazz/blues ("Bessie's Dream"), folk-blues ("Good Stuff"), Delta blues ("Rolling Log"), gospel (an a cappella version of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Rock Daniel"), and combinations of those genres. On paper it sounds scattershot, but in actuality this is a thoughtfully paced combination of styles, united by three affecting voices. Eric Bibb's smoother Keb' Mo' approach meshes surprisingly well with Rory Block's more penetrating Delta croon and Maria Muldaur's sassy, sexy, throaty growl. Covers of Jimmy Reed's "Little Rain" and Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" with Bibb taking lead, and Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" (Muldaur and Block) show the disc's wide stylistic range. A musical seminar in how diverse types of music interbreed and influence each other, all three singers are in the moment with nobody commanding the spotlight for long. The barrelhouse honky tonk piano blues of Block's "Travelin' Woman Blues" incorporates both Muldaur's and Block's singing in the album's most convincing duet. Only a few songs such as the closing title track feature all three voices, and the album might have benefited from more instances where they all contribute. But the vocalist's exuberance soars from the grooves and creates a lively yet relaxed vibe that's contagious and often thrilling. The result is a cohesive, soulful, and powerful disc that will hopefully inspire listeners to find more material from each of its headliners.

Biography

Born: 16 August 1951 in New York, NY

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Like Josh White, Jr. — son of folk singer Josh White — singer, songwriter, and guitarist Eric Bibb was raised in the folk tradition, the son of folk singer Leon Bibb. Bibb's uncle was the world-famous jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, part of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Bibb was raised in a music-filled household, and family friends in the '50s and '60s included Pete Seeger, Odetta, Bob Dylan, and the late Paul Robeson, who was named Eric's godfather. Bibb got his first steel guitar...
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Sisters & Brothers, Eric Bibb
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