Colin Linden is the very definition of someone who has been steeped in the blues. At age 11, he met his musical idol Howlin’ Wolf, who told him, “I’m an old man now, and I won’t be around much longer. It’s up to you to carry it on.” Linden took those words to heart.
In his career, he has played on more than 500 albums and produced 140, including the Grammy-award winning Oklahoma by Keb’ Mo’. For as long as he has played the blues, his new album Blow is his first album of electric blues. Of the new album Blow, he said, “Roots music and blues do speak to a lot of people right now. Much of the healing and release you get from listening to this music, the power and form of expression, has shown itself to be so vital in these times. It feels timeless because it’s such a raw nerve.”
It doesn’t take long to realize the breadth of the blues that Linden has absorbed in his lifetime. You can hear a variety of influences throughout these songs. For example, both the sound and the rhythm of the guitar in “Ain’t No Shame” have a serious Stevie Ray Vaughan vibe. By contrast, “Until the Heat Leaves Town” is a midtempo song that features some good harmonica and a melody that feels a lot like a Rolling Stones song.
“Boogie Let Me Be” is about as fun a blues song as you’ll hear. The guitar has the greasy sound similar to GA-20 and Left Lane Cruiser. Meanwhile, the rhythm section will get you moving whether you have a dance partner or not. It’s safe to assume that nobody sits still when this song is performed live.
The title track is an interesting one. It has a more deliberate tempo than some of the other songs. This one also includes some organ that adds a soulful layer to the song. Then there are the lyrics, “There’s a card shark with bite marks tugging at my sleeve. She wants my gin and tonic before I leave. She has a slight of hand and a wandering eye. She can find my pocket like a bullseye.” It’s not just the lyrics that are interesting. It’s also interesting that they are delivered with a cadence similar to Bob Dylan.
Blow by Colin Linden is a study in the blues. While it is a blues album, each song offers a little something different. Whether you like your blues good and greasy of you prefer a more traditional sound, this album has something to satisfy your ears. This album was released on September 17 on Lucinda Williams’s Highway 20 Records and is available everywhere now. Order your copy here.