First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2005, Volume 12, #1
Written by John Metzger
Nearly halfway through his recent concert recording Grant Street, guitarist Sonny Landreth raises the ante for the remainder of his 65-minute set by leading his backing band through Z. Rider with all the strength of a hurricane making landfall at full force. Until that point, the trio’s music — which was recorded over the course of two nights at the esteemed Lafayette, Louisiana venue that serves as the collection’s namesake — seems to slip past with an unassuming easiness; pleasantly performed and certainly well-executed, but ultimately lacking the urgency necessary for transforming the energy of the group’s live performance into a transcendent experience at home. While there are hints of the ensemble’s potency lurking within Port of Calling’s bayou-baked blues, Native Stepson’s rumbling overtures, and the dusky strains of Broken Hearted Road, it isn’t until Z. Rider that the collective truly hits its stride, and not surprisingly, nearly everything that follows is whipped into a rockin’, rollin’, zydeco-infused frenzy. As bass player David Ranson and drummer Kenneth Blevins latch onto a series of propulsive grooves, Landreth unleashes a torrent of slide guitar riffs that poke and prod at each song’s rhythmic core. In essence, the latter half of Grant Street features precisely the type of raw, edgy mayhem that Landreth’s fans forever have claimed he could deliver, but which rarely has been captured quite so incisively via his efficient and far less exciting studio efforts. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box