By Phillip Smith; April 5, 2014
Listening to the new album, Take Me to the Delta from Billy Pierce & Friends is like taking a mini musical vacation to New Orleans. The songs are marinated in a Cajun-style country blues sauce and served buffet-style, so as to make sure everyone gets a little of what they have to offer. Along with Pierce, who handles the vocals and slide guitar, is bassist Chris Miller and drummer Billy Meyers. Joining the band is a multitude of guest musicians which include the likes of Sonny Landreth, Charlie Wooton, Waylon Thibodeaux and the guys from Bonerama.
Title track, “Take Me Back to the Delta” is a bluesy treat. With guests Landreth on slide, Wooton on bass, and Thibodeaux fiddling away, you can’t go wrong. This one is just plain fun. I really like the instrumental, “Song For Sonny”. This is my favorite. It pretty much falls into the category of trance blues. Guest drummer Johnny Digiovanni, keeps a steady interesting beat running throughout the song as Pierce plays some bodacious slide guitar. I would love to hear a full album of more songs like this one. Coming in at number two, is “Rooster”, a song about putting stuff behind you and letting go. Jimmy Carpenter’s sax playing surely contributes to the cool factor. While on the subject of cool factors, check out Wooten’s funky bass track on “Big Joe”. It goes really well with that cool swampy slide Pierce lays down.
A couple of notable covers to mention are Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway”, and Hank Williams Sr.’s “Jambalaya”. Like Heinz ketchup, the Broonzy cover is ‘Slow Good’. Bonerama provides the horns and Johnny Neel tickles the ivories, giving this a really nice authentic New Orleans sound. And we all know, no trip to The Big Easy is complete without a big bowl of the aforementioned Jambalaya. This bowl is spiced up with help from Thibodeaux, Digiovanni, and Henry Ramato on accordion.
Take Me Back to the Delta has some really cool musical components, and fans of both Blues and Zydeco music are encouraged to check this album out.