Paul Reddick

Paul Reddick
Sugarbird

Northern Blues (NBM0050)

By Georgetown Fats
August 2009

I really wanted to like this disk. Paul Reddick is a gifted harp player with a strong voice. The reviews from other publications were favorable, touting Reddick’s strong voice, stronger harp skills, and poetry. Given the opportunity to review this disk, I jumped at the chance. I wished I hadn’t. About the only problem with this job is articulating the rational of a non-favorable review, which requires multiple listening sessions and multiple revisions to a review. When there is so much good material to review disks like “Sugarbird” tend to get overlooked real easy.

The 12 track release, Sugarbird, much of it co-written by Colin Linden, is Reddick’s 4th release on the Northern Blues label. On the first track “Morning Bell” Linden’s polyrhythmic acoustic guitar line recalls traditional pre-war blues while The Band’s Garth Hudson weaves in a Cajun accordion accompaniment. The blues roots are undeniable. However the lyrics about “pretty ribbons and pretty bows” are unsettling.

In the intro to “I will Vanish”, Reddick and Linden blend a minimalist guitar line under vocals treated with a studio effect. The vocal effect creates a psychedelic feel for the track and takes the song into an artsy direction.

Linden’s opening guitar riff to “Devilment” bring some hope for some raucous blues fun, but again Reddick treats the vocals with an echo effect that muddies his voice. The choice of an upright bass mixed too low also removed any potential passion from the track. The lyrics seem better suited for boy bands instead of a blues artist.

I actually own a copy of Paul Reddick’s Revue disk and have found it choppy. There are some great tracks on there, but mostly it is a disk with filler background music material. On “Songbird” there are no great tracks, just background material with no edge. This plays as a forgettable and tentative folk music disk by an artist who should be able to produce better material.

www.paulreddick.ca

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