The Mississippi-born slide guitar specialist spent most of his childhood across the way in Louisiana, soaking up the Cajun and zydeco influences that have always been present in his recordings. Landreth’s career ignited in the late 1970s, as sideman to Clifton Chenier, followed by a stint with Michael Doucet’s Beausoleil. The latter fiddler appears as one of this album’s host of guest players, which also includes another old employer, John Hiatt, as well as the omnipresent Bonnie Raitt. As expected, it’s Landreth’s sliding flash that presides over the self-penned tunes, his burning, skidding tootles and hot yowling licks repeatedly lifting each track into the red. Landreth’s song writing often tends towards nondescript rock, but his narrative lyrics have substance, crying out for some harder melodic content. Joe Mouton’s accordion and frottoir (rubboard) add authentic spice to “The U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile”, while “Broken-Hearted Road” travels from sparse slugging to smoking frenzy. Axe fiends can rejoice in the instrumental “Spider-Gris” and “Z. Rider”, then the closing “Angeline” and “Deep South” bring on a soul horn section, adding yet another flavour to this Southern stew.
Sonny’s magnificent, and star-studded album from 2000 gets a welcome re-issue this time with a bonus CD containing five previously unreleased tracks. Levee Town not only combines his poetry and phenomenal slide guitar playing but also features the talents of special guests John Hiatt & Bonnie Raitt. This set coincides with a short tour to Europe in May when he is booked in for a BBC session with Paul Jones. It also follows in the succesful wake of his 2008 album From The Reach.Sonny Landreth is a one-of-a-kind slide guitarist. His unique Zydeco/ blues/ swamp- rock style has allowed him to collaborate with artists as diverse as Clifton Chenier, Mountain and Mark Knopfler. Sonny’s talent has been compared to some masterful contemporaries such as Ry Cooder and David Lindley, and on “Levee Town” Sonny reaches the pinnacle of his career, it is an amazing musical and poetic tale of life in Louisiana. Every song is a Sonny original and “Levee Town” boasts the strongest vocal performance of Sonny’s career to match his guitar virtuosity.
Tracks: CD1; Levee Town/This River/The U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile/Love And Glory/Broken Hearted Road/Spider-Gris/Godchild/Turning With The Century/Z. Rider/Soul Salvation/Angeline/Deep South.
CD2; Bonus Disc – Pedal To Metal/For Who We Are (The Night Bird Sings)/Road A Plenty/Old Flame/Fare You Well.
Source: Proper Records