First Appeared at The Music Box, October 2003, Volume 10, #10
Written by John Metzger
Everything seemed to come together just exactly perfectly for Eric Bibb on his last outing Painting Signs. By folding bits of gospel, soul, country, and folk into traditional blues fare, he created a minor masterpiece that addressed social ills in an uplifting, community building-kind of way. Unfortunately, his latest effort Natural Light attempts to capture the same ambience and mood, but it does so with far less potency, despite the fact that the songsí lyrics follow even more closely along a similar thematic thread. For the record, the album begins and ends quite strongly, offering the hope that it magnificently might eclipse its predecessor. Too Much Stuff is funk-blues at its finest; the lazy, jazz-oriented swing of Home Loviní Man carries an easy-going charm; and a cover of Higher and Higher, popularized by Jackie Wilson and Rita Coolidge, is steeped in a blend of cajun-rock and gospel. In between, however, Bibb loses his way, delivering a stolid reading of Randy Newmanís Every Time It Rains as well as a bland, overwrought rendition of Jon Randall Stewartís Circles. The rest isnít bad, but it also doesnít sound as fresh as the material on Painting Signs. Itís as if Bibb is marching in place instead of moving forward, and as a result, much of Natural Light simply sounds redundant.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box