THE MORNING AFTER
All right folks, The Morning After is not the first Marshall Lawrence CD I have reviewed, but it is the best, and that is always a good thing in the sense you hope a musician gets better as they progress in their career.
I have to tell you, this is a very impressive edition of Delta style blues out of this Edmonton musician.
The lead cut Freight Train reminds me stylistically, and even vocally of David Essig, and believe me that is very high praise since Essig is one of my all-time favourites.
The guitar work on Blue Sky is Fallin' also reminds of another Canadian stand out, that being none other than Big Dave McLean. Again that's pretty high praise.
Now before you start thinking Marshall simply copies other performers, that is not the case. This guy doesn't need to copy anyone. He plays a darned fine guitar, adding mandolin, banjo and even kazoo on occasion on this disk. He also has a distinctive voice for the blues which generally sets him apart too.
That said, Lawrence does have aspects of this CD which remind of the best, because he is climbing up the ranks of Canadian blues with this CD.
Back to Lawrence's voice for a second. Most often blues singers are at their best when their voices have a certain amount of gravel to them. It suits the genre.
Lawrence is different there. His voice is smoother, in a sense more mainstream, and that really gives this set of Delta blues a different 'feel', and that is not a bad thing either.
The disk has variety, from the faster-paced Shake It, a Lawrence original that while stylistically strong, is maybe the weakest cut in the sense his individual style suits the blues that are slower and more heartfelt.
Lawrence is in his zone with the more traditional efforts, even those he has written, such as Catfish Blues, and the aforementioned Freight Train.
This CD certainly takes Lawrence another step in his career, and is well worth grabbing if you like Delta blues served up acoustic and hot.
Check it out at www.doctorblues.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 16, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada