Mon, Jun 3, 2013.
Cape Breton bluesman Doiron stepped out as a solo recording artist in 2011, and immediately joined the top tier of regional blues players, gaining an ECMA nod for this debut, Even My Guitar Is In Love With You. The follow-up is a confident, smokin' set full of hot leads, a variety of styles, and best of all, lots of cliche-free originals.
Doiron plays it full of energy, moving in and out of funk, rock, and scorching blues ballads. Never afraid to let it rip, even the slowest-tempo numbers (Am I Blue Enough), have some fireball solos on top. Using the basic guitar, bass, drums, and organ (the mighty Kim Dunn) set-up, the quartet shines on the funky stuff, everybody locked in on the opener, At The Hard Knocks Cafe, bassist Keith Doiron and drummer Mike Carroll keeping the rhythm popping, setting up the guitar and organ solos. The title cut is a sinister cut, lots of nasty tone out of Doiron's guitar, the rest of the band in rock-riff mode. When they bring it down for a quiet verse, Doiron's voice really shines, he has the passion.
What grabs me most are the lyrics, usually the weak point in most electric blues albums. Doiron has lots of original, good ideas for songs, and even when they are the old boy-girl tunes, he uses different language, lines that you haven't heard a dozen times. At The Hard Knocks Cafe is about playing rip-off joints, where the owners are making threats and demands. What I Did Then is a clever number about living with past sins, remembering all the dumb things done in younger days ("Wasted time trying to be a rock star/Sold my '58 Strat guitar"). What Did You Expect is a slow, soulful number, with some advice to a guy who won't compromise ("Can't hear the answer when you're beating your chest"). Great playing always sounds even better when the words are worth hearing, too.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).