The Long Haul
First Appeared at The Music Box, July 2002, Volume 9, #7
Written by John Metzger
As one of the most sought-after session players in rock ínĎ roll, Pete Sears has performed with everyone from Rod Stewart to Jefferson Starship. Itís not surprising, then, that Sears put together an all-star cast of artists ó including John Lee Hooker, Jorma Kaukonen, The Bandís Levon Helm, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Steve Kimock, and countless others ó to support him on his latest studio effort The Long Haul. Like most blockbuster line-ups, however, one canít help but to feel a little disappointed with the results. Each of the roots-oriented tracks is solidly played, but rarely transcendent.
Thatís not to say that The Long Haul is a bad outing from Sears. In fact, itís far from it. Throughout the disc, Sears mixes raw roadhouse blues with laid-back, folk-rock selections that flow together to form a rather pleasurable listening experience. His New Orleans-tinged keyboard accompaniments flavor tracks like Fair to Even Odds and Meadway Rag. And, on the bluegrass waltz Dance with the Past, he joins forces with Grisman and Rowan to provide a gentle undercurrent that washes under the tender vocals of Shana Morrison. The highlight, however, is Elizabeth, Searsí collaboration with John Lee Hooker. Here, the duo locks into something magical, laying down a slow, smoldering blues groove that is simply unbeatable.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box