Stone By Stone
Grow Vision Records
Digging Deep and Colouring Outside the Edges on a Modern Blues Classic.
While he’s previously released 13 other albums, I hope it’s fair to say that Ian Siegal is probably better known for his brilliant and passionate live shows; from pub backrooms through the main stage of International Festivals; that have gone down in history over the last 20+ years.
That said; the four albums I own ain’t got nothing wrong with them at all; and each one has managed to entertain me in the car or office many times over the years ….. and (Spoiler Alert!) this one will too.
STONE BY STONE starts with the ramshackle, Gospel tinged Working On a Building which sounds like it’s ‘Live Cut’ and will certainly catch your attention; especially that razor sharp geetar in the background.
Siegal’s ‘type of Blues’ straddles many formulas and he brings a freshness to each and every song that you probably weren’t expecting …… and I’m thinking especially of the Country-Blues infused The Fear as well as his pained rendition of Psycho (that I first heard by Elvis Costello on Almost Blue) and especially This Heart which sounds like Ian had been listening to a lot of Robert Johnson on the build up to recording day.
Fans like me fawn over Siegal’s exquisite guitar picking; yet the ‘experts’ in the mainstream sort of ignore him …… which is their loss and our gain; when you dissect the intimate and raw K.K’s Blues and Holler which are both very good songs made great by the inclusion of the the stupendous yet understated guitar in the background.
As we would normally expect from an Ian Siegal; there’s a lot of heartbreak in his songs; and he describes it in a manner multi-award winning songwriters and singers can only dream of on Gathering Deep and Onwards and Upwards, which closes the record in a jaunty manner.
Not for the first time and no doubt, not the last I’m torn between two fabulous and fabulously different songs for my selection of Favourite Song.
I’m The Shit, sounds like something Tom Waits could have written; but didn’t and while slightly tongue in cheek; Ian Siegal digs deep and colours outside the edges on a song about living on the edge and in the shadows.
Then there is Hand In Hand, which just may be one of the finest songs that Ian has ever recorded; not least because of the lyrics but the duet with the mighty Shemekia Copeland who takes on the guise of Aretha in her ‘Gospel mode’ and the result is absolutely stupendous …. and far too good to be ignored by national radio.
It’s not just Ian Siegal’s distinctive voice and/or guitar playing that makes this album a winner; but the crisp production actually makes him sound ‘as live’ and it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the sequencing is almost perfect; easing us through a gentle rollercoaster of adult emotions; the likes of which we rarely hear.
Released April 29th 2022
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