Saturday, February 8, 2014

Damon Fowler - Sounds of Home

Blind Pig Records, 2014

By Phillip Smith; February 8, 2014

Damon Fowler’s latest solo album, Sounds of Home is a grab-bag of Americana at its best.  Soon after finishing the tour with the band, Southern Hospitality, which released one of my favorite albums last year, Easy Livin’, Fowler returned to the studio with bassist Chuck Riley and drummer James McKnight.  Tab Benoit not only produced, recorded and mixed this eleven track album, but he sits in on several songs as well, pitching in on vocals, acoustic guitar, and pedal steel. 

The album is a heavy mix of Country and Blues music. Fowler breaks out some really thick slide, on opening track “Thought I Had It All”.  This one gets the energy flowing, as Fowler makes his slide scream.  It almost borders on Southern Rock.   

Title track, “Sounds of Home” puts a smile on my face, as the guitar riffs bring to mind Steve Cropper, while the backing rhythm is very reminiscent of those cool early days of Stax Records. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux also makes a guest appearance here, pitching in on vocals and tambourine. 

Fowler tackles Elvis Costello’s “Allison” with a slightly different approach as he brings a little country twang to the vocals and melody, and an outstanding guitar solo on the bridge.  While on the subject of outstanding guitar and cover songs, Fowler brings it on again with a very swampy bluesy rendition of Johnny Winter’s “TV Mama”.  It’s so fun just to hear him play guitar, especially on songs like this.

Fowler digs deep and goes really ‘old school’, as he dusts off the classic spiritual, “I Shall Not Be Moved”, and plays it in a very traditional sense as he is joined by Benoit on acoustic guitar and harmonizing vocals.  Beautifully played, I thought this was a cool song to close the album with.    

Albums like “Sounds of Home” are so welcome to hear, as it allows the artist’s raw talent to shine through, and not be muddled by special effects and over-production.  This album is a “keeper”.  

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