Saturday, April 20, 2013

Colin Linden Very Much Still Live

Canadian Colin Linden latest recording Still Live (Yellow Dog Records) is a live recording at a neighborhood Nashville tavern, the Douglas Corner Café. He has been living in Nashville since the 90‘s. It is Linden’s 11th album under his own name although he has contributed to many recordings by a variety of artists of a variety of stripes. He was backed on this by John Dymond on bass and harmony vocals, Gary Craig on drums and the legendary Spooner Oldham on organ. One selection, a new version of his John Lennon in New Orleans, was recorded in a studio during a rehearsal for this performance.

Linden impresses with his songs, his playing and his singing over a program of mostly originals (the one cover is a nice restrained rendition of Howlin’ Wolf’s Who’s Been Talking). The opening Big Mouth is a blues rooted number displaying his considerable picking skills as well as his restraint and sense of dynamics. A country-folk flavor marks Between The Darkness and The Light of Day, while Smoke Them All, a collaboration with his wife Janice Powers, is a solo performance that displays Linden’s considerable finger picking guitar (with some jazzy accents) as Linden sings “barrelhouse at midnight the piano moans.” It is a moving tribute to his late friend, pianist Richard Bell. 

Other performances include Sugar Mine, a lovely rootsy ballad with Linden’s touch on the electric guitar complemented by the light backing he receives. Dark Night of the Soul, has a lovely lyric that Linden will be their for his friend and lead them from the dark night of the soul while Too Late To Holler is an exuberantly performed rocker with a very soulful vocal. Remedy was written with Jim Weider and recorded by the post Robbie Robertson The Band on their comeback album, and Linden’s bluesy-roots rendition with Oldham gritty on organ is a strong performance that has some of the same feel to it that The Band imparted to so much of their music. 

I called Linden’s From The Water a stunning recording, and Still LIve is a similar appealing mix of blues and roots songs.

I received a review copy from Yellow Dog Records. Here is a video of Colin Linden in performance.

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