Monday, May 17, 2010

Review -- HARPDOG BROWN & GRAHAM GUEST -- Above And Beyond

ABOVE and BEYOND
Harpdog Brown & Graham Guest
Dog Breath Records
8.5-out-of-10

It’s always cool to review music from someone you sort of know. Harpdog Brown and I have chatted via email for a couple of years, and more recently through Facebook, so I’ve followed the Edmonton bluesman’s career for a while.
In the case of his new disk Above and Beyond it was interesting that the artist actually called me up for a coffee and we met here in Yorkton as he traveled back from a Winnipeg show headed to his hometown. As a side note it’s really too bad there wasn’t a place he could have played here. There are no doubt many great bands passing through on the Yellowhead highway, but we sadly lack venues, which I suppose goes back to the fact Yorkton music fans seem sadly satisfied with canned tracks over live music given the sparse crowds many live bands play to here.
But back to Harpdog Brown and piano man Graham Guest. As his name implies, Brown is a harp man. He plays the harmonica, and he plays it fine.
Brown also supplies the vocals, and he has the gravel-infused voice to make the blues his own. One song into the disk and you know two things for sure, the blues was made for Harpdog’s voice, and that he is genuinely in the blues because he loves the music.
The combo of harp work and gritty vocals sell this one as very solid blues.
Graham adds the piano work, and he is a perfect compliment to the ‘Dog.
The disk includes a range of covers, from You Don’t Have to Go from Jimmy Reed, to Percy Mayfield’s Someone to Love to Let Me Explain from Sonnyboy Williamson II.
This of course is not Harpdog’s first recording, having Live at the Vat with his band the Bloodhounds out a few years ago.
This is a CD that should be marked a must for blues fans.
Check it out at www.harpdogbrown.com
CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 12, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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