Grant Lyle - So There
Society is moving way too fast these days. It's a problem that has even seeped into our music listening. There's something to be said about giving an album its due time; not rushing it through our already over-bloated playlists and giving it the opportunity to absorb into our affective consciousness. As a longtime appreciator of the blues genre, from Robert Johnson and the Delta era up 'til current purveyors like Gary Clark Jr., I was glad I dedicated a few quality hours to Canadian Grant Lyle.
His So There starts off very instrumentally spacy with "Impressions". My first one (impression, that is) was of a Steve Vai six-stringed experiment that does its best to channel Jimi Hendrix's "Red House" while experiencing weightlessness. But instead of continuing his transfigurative intergalactic journey, almost as if he's en route to meet up with astronaut and fellow Canuck Chris Hadfield, when "Let It Out" kicks in next, Lyle is transported to a different era altogether, when easy blues in the Stevie Ray Vaughan vein were king. I'm talking about the SRV you wished you had seen in a crowded, smoky '80s bar where whiskey is the only drink available. Lyle's voice is consistently powerful throughout So There, but it's his playing that really gets me, especially on other instrumental "Trouble Blues". You want to close your eyes and lose yourself in its fret-sliding beauty...I know I did.Lyle departs somewhat from the Vaughan-ish era blues on "Chéri Ann (Long Way to Go)". It's a piano-driven ballad, but Lyle's Fender guitar doesn't stay silent for long. "From the Hills" is more acoustic, with a healthy dose of harmonica, and "You've Got Love" introduces some very cool horn action into Lyle's mix. Oh, and the bass on second-to-last song "Lost in Temptation" is to die for. But it didn't take me very long to be convinced of Lyle's talent - his stripped-down, goosebump-inducing cover of Son House's "Levee Moan" simply put me over the top. If you're even remotely into the blues, head to GrantLyle.com and choose an online storefront to get your own copy of So There.
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