lightnin willie

Lightnin’ Willie
Little Dog Records

A Masterclass in Stylish Chicago Blues.

Just like those days when we spent whole afternoons browsing the racks in Record Stores I am still capable of choosing music to review simply by ‘liking the artwork’ on the sleeve; and that was most certainly the case with this album. The album cover just screams ‘THE BLUES’ to me and the photo of the amazing looking Lightnin’ Willie on the back on the back proves my Mother was wrong; you can judge an album by the sleeve!
Opening song Can’t Get That Stuff is everything I want from Urban/Chicago Blues; a raspy ‘lived in voice,’ red hot guitar interludes (nothing long winded or superfluous), rolling piano and a tight as a drum rhythm section……and the song is super-cool too, hey man; what’s not to like?
I’ve not heard of Lightnin’ Willie before but a quick look at his track record and you see he has supported Dylan, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell and a host of other household names; and that’s no real surprise when you hear songs like the expertly crafted Phone Stopped Ringing, Note On My Door and the timeless and beautiful Thinking Of You; which even Mrs. Magpie likes.
I am always left dumbfounded when I hear complexly constructed songs like Fuss & Fight made to sound so simple in the hands of guys like Willie. It’s an age old story that’s made to sound fresh and exciting by the stunning arrangement and that guitar playing……swoon…..THAT guitar playing.
NO BLACK, NO WHITE…JUST BLUES is the type of an album that you could blindly stick a pin into to find your favourite track; the first time I played it that was unquestionably the Johnny Winter influenced Shake My Snake which closes the album, then this morning it’s the mellow heartbreaker Locked In a Prison but tomorrow night it could be the righteous toe tapper Sad n Blue. That’s what the Blues does for me; it caters for every mood.
William K Hermes aka Lightnin’ Willie is very much a showman in the old traditions; he looks ‘interesting’ (he has his very own hat maker) writes songs that make you want to listen intently too, has surrounded himself with a band of the very highest order and his guitar playing is sublime and flashy but never enough to over shadows the songs…’s all about the songs baby.

Released June 16th 2017


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