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Brian Blain "New Folk Blues"
Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller, and Bluesman are some of the words used to describe Toronto based Brian Blain, but once you have had a chance to really listen to his music, you may come to the conclusion that he is much more then even all those descriptions combined. Brian Blain has been offering up his own unique blend of witty and unique folk and blues for nearly 50 years, having "first recorded with a folk group whose payment for the session was a trip to Montreal and a steak dinner". Along the way he has picked up countless praises from blues publications, fellow artists, and of course fans, such as, "master storyteller... It is refreshing to know of artists such as Brian Blain" (Music City Blues Society, Nashville), " of the wittiest songwriting pens on the Canadian blues scene" (Montreal Gazette), and "...'slice of life' original songs, stunning in their creativity, poignancy and ironic humor" (Indiana Blues Monthly), to name just a very few and now with his third CD release, "New Folk Blues", we all get a chance to experience his musical magic.
"New Folk Blues" is a collaboration between Brian Blain and renowned Bass player George Koller, and was recorded Live, in just one evening, at Reba's Cafe' in Toronto's west-end Junction district. All 9 of the Tracks are Original songs written by Brian Blain, except for Track 6 "Ramene Moi Demain", "A love song to the Eastern Townships, en Francais", which he co-wrote with Daniel Racine. In addition to this Album, which he has kept slim and trim, as far as long introductions are concerned, Brian Blain has also created longer online versions for some of the songs that have full introductions included. Other additions to some of the Songs including Mash/Ups and Over dubs are planned for digital download, making, as Brian put it, a Live Album "which has become in a way, a Living Album".
With Brian's amazingly gifted talent for unique and witty storytelling, you would expect his songs to be abundantly creative and thoroughly interesting, and with "New Folk Blues", that is exactly what you get. Take for instance, "The Day Coke Saved The Blues" a story about how a song help save the Northern Blues Record Label. The song in question was written by Northern Blues Recording Artist Paul Reddick and was used in the "Fountain Pour" Coca Cola commercial. "Another Song About Alice" is another wonderful example, with this one being the story of whatever happened to Alice from Alice's Restaurant. Alice, by the way, is 1960's cult music legend Alice Brock whom lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Alice is a great supporter of Brian's music and a good friend.
Beyond the storytelling on "New Folk Blues", is also the great, yet simply played, instruments of Brian Blain's Guitar and George Koller's Bass. Nothing fancy here, just two musicians having a great time bringing us some amazingly performed Folksy Blues, fresh, downhome, and simple. One of the more unique sounds on this Album came from the Bass of George Koller on Track 2, "The Old Whaler's Confession". where the opening to this song sounds just like the sounds whales make, which I found thoroughly mesmerizing. Fans of really good Bass playing will also really like Track 7 "Don't Blame The Bass Player".
Beyond "New Folk Blues", Brian Blain's commentary on life goes a lot farther than simply putting out Albums. Brian is also a prolific blogger, whoms latest blog chronicles his life since moving to Toronto. Brian is "also resident desktop publisher for the Blues Society, the Jazz Festival and the Musician's Union putting out newsletters and websites ." and "host of the monthly campfire jam sessions held at the Gladstone Hotel, where he encourages both novice and veteran musicians to join together in the joyful communion of music ".
"New Folk Blues" is one of those rare treasures that just makes you feel good inside to listen to and for exceptionally well done Folk Blues, I highly recommend this Album.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Additional Info
1. The Day Coke Saved The Blues
2. The Old Whaler's Confession
3. Treasure Beach
4. Forgotten
5. Another Song About Alice
6. Ramene Moi Demain
7. Don't Blame The Bass Player
8. Last Time I Saw Lenny
9. The Ghost of Clinton's Tavern
Listen To Samples Here...