PAUL REDDICK

SUGAR BIRD

2008-12-02

Joined by the likes of Colin Linden, Hutch Hutchinson, Garth Hudson, Darrell Leonard and Joe Sublette, harmonica ace Paul Reddick has crafted a disc that continues the trend of his 2006 release "Villanelle", focusing on the edges of the blues rather than the well worn Little Walter path. There’s everything from "Morning Bell", which sounds like an outtake from a session with the Band, to slinky, atmospheric roots numbers, "I Will Vanish", to acoustic folk blues, "Breathless Girls", to big band style blues on the catchy "It’s Later than you Think". This rich musical backdrop serves to highlight Reddick’s finely honed writer’s eye for detail with tales of a woman as thin as turpentine, "Devilment", and a first person account of "John Lennon in New Orleans" where he imagines Lennon seeking anonymous comfort from loneliness with a Cajun girl. While Reddick made his initial splash as a harmonica player he unleashes it here more as an accent piece than a lead instrument with only the straight blues of "Block of Wood" featuring more than a quick flourish. Reddick’s nuanced vocals take center stage on most of the songs and weave a spell-binding web that the all-star musical cast pulls tight around the listener. Colin Linden’s production adds polish where needed but leaves enough edges to make these tunes stick. Smitty

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