Penguin Eggs

Thursday, 07 September 2017 08:35

Durham County Poets

Written by Mike Sadava
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Grimshaw Road (Independent)

This album had my ear from the spooky, swampy blues of the opening title track. The lost soul looking into the black water, being handed a bottle by the devil himself, punctuated by searing slide guitar. 

But then there’s a jump blues with horns, a jazz-inspired tune, a hard electric blues, and so on. With every member contributing songs, and a few multi-instrumentalists, this quintet from the Chateauguay Valley in southern Quebec explores many nooks and crannies of the blues, and they do it with aplomb.

They’re all tasteful musicians with a light touch. The band is anchored by lead vocalist Kevin Harvey, who has to be one of Canada’s most underrated blues singers, who has a style that reminds me of Eric Bibb. One of the two covers, Blind Willie Johnson’s On Your Bond, features a memorable duet between Harvey and guest Suzie Vinnick. David Whyte’s Outside Cat has a large dollop of Louis Jordan influence. So much variety but somehow it all comes together, and the whole is much more than the sum of the parts.

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