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From the Reach

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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

awesome slide guitar

Great album! My only gripe is with iTunes. Why do I have ot go to amazon to get a track listing with the guest artists? APPLE should create at least text-based digital booklets with information on the musicians on the tracks. Anyway as a service to everyone else, here is the list: 1. Blue Tarp Blues - w/ Mark knopfler 2. When I still Had You - Eric Clapton 3. Way Past Long - Robben Ford 4. The Milky Way Home - Eric Johnson 5. Storm of Worry - Eric Clapton 6. Howlin Moon - Dr. John & Jimmy Buffett 7. The Goin On - Vince Gill 8. Let It Fly - Nadirah Shakoor 9. Blue Angel - Robben Ford & Vince Gill 10 - Uberesso - Sonny Landreth 11. Universe - Vince Gill

He is Unreal, potential ? unlimited

I attended a festival over in Eugene, Oregon a while back, now it takes a lot to really stun me, but Sonny is sensational, do give him a good listen, His early stuff is nothing but different, moving and full of passion. Keep an eye out for him, he is a rare one, and just fantastic. Ron Sapp - Seattle

Guitar Virtuoso Makes Good

Congrats to Sonny on his first world-wide release!!! Great to see the continued success for one of the hardest working guitarist in the music industry. If you're a fan of Contemporary Blues, Classic/Country Rock, Americana, or you simply lust at the sound of uniquely layered guitar tracks, then "From The Reach" is the download for you. This assembly of songs is packed with Sonny’s patented slide guitar, soft spoken lyrical delivery, and has cameos from the guitar elite. The tracks are a refined sound that will delight Landreth fans young and old. Blue Tarp Blues, When I Still Have You, Way Past Long, and Howlin' Moon, can only be played one way - cranked up so you and your neighbors can play along with the air-guitar greats. The bottom line is that Sonny's unique sound and artistry is one of the most refreshing sounds to come along in the past several years. The songs will take you away from the daily grind, get you through your workouts, or add a nice backdrop to those evening rides with the windows down. Landreth has raised the bar of guitar academia. Simply put, Sonny Landreth is one of the most exciting artists to break through in a long time. This is a must add for your iTunes collection.


Born: February 1, 1951 in Canton, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Southwest Louisiana-based guitarist, songwriter, and singer Sonny Landreth is a musician's musician. The blues slide guitar playing found on his two Zoo Entertainment releases, Outward Bound (1992) and South of I-10 (1995) is distinctive and unlike anything else you've ever heard. His unorthodox guitar style comes from the manner in which he simultaneously plays slide and makes fingering movements on the fretboard. Landreth, who has an easygoing personality, can play it all, like any good session...
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