John’s Blues Picks

Danny Brooks is also now a US resident, of Llano, Texas, hence the album title. He continues to evoke the music of the American South, coming up with gorgeous melodies song after song. His high energy, occasionally raspy vocals can scarcely contain his enthusiasm and enjoyment. “Soul Man” and “Can’t Stop Riding This Train” are sometimes simply lists, the former of great singers in the past and the latter of places he’s travelled through, but he carries you along with his crack band keeping the groove, setting the context for what follows: “Trouble Me No More” is a well-done, straight-ahead blues with plenty of Danny’s harp. “Hard Workin’ Man” is a rocking manifesto: life the way Danny Brooks lives it. As you probably know, he attributes his new career to finding religion and he has no trouble combining this message with his chosen music and making it into something for all to enjoy: “Jubilee” and “Mama Prayed” being just a couple of examples. Another highlight is “Running With The Best Of Them”, set to a tune Springsteen would be proud of, about a boy growing up in Regent Park. “I Wanna Be With You” has a bit of a Hill Country sound to it, a slide-driven blues that takes its time. More soul closes out the program with “Caught A Fire”, which chronicles anew his life in music. This is homegrown soul and blues at its best, he may live in the States now but you can still catch him live: Danny’s current tour includes Angola & Parchman Farm and takes in the Gladstone on Nov. 1 to celebrate this release. shows a series of Southern Ontario dates before he heads back to Texas.