Pat Travers,
Blues on Fire
(Purple Pyramid, 2012)

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the blues. That doesn't mean I'm closed to variation -- especially not when the person performing the variation is a class act like Pat Travers.

I'll admit in my opinion there are some artists who've done a better job interpreting the nuances of the blues on some selections. But that's just me. If Travers' version inspires a new audience for these classics, I'm all for it. Despite his avowed affection for Jimi Hendrix, he did admit in a recent interview that Johnny Winter, a Texas bluesman, also had an influence on him.

A native of Toronto, Ontario, his passion for rock began at the age of 12 after seeing a performance by Hendrix. He started playing in bands in his early teens and rose to prominence in the hard-rock music scene in the 1970s and early 1980s. His career took a downward slide in the latter half of the '80s when he found himself without a record contract.

His renaissance began in 1992 with the release of Blues Tracks, which earned positive reviews from critics.

This new album includes 12 tracks, all originally performed by such blues legends as Blind Willie Johnson, Bessie Smith, Henry Thomas and my personal favorite, Son House. You may not agree with his gravelly voiced rendition of some, but there are no bad songs here. Favorites? I'd have to say Blind Willie's "Nobody's Fault By Mine" and Bessie's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out."

Travers handles the vocals, guitar and bass guitar. He's backed by Sean Shannon, drums; Doug Bare, piano and organ; and Carl Cleaver, piano.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
John Lindermuth

1 June 2013

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