Sonny Landreth - Elemental Journey (Landfall/Proper Records)
It’s a brave move indeed for a blues guitarist to plump for an entire album of self-penned instrumentals without having it consigned to the racks reserved for ‘easy listening’. If anyone is up to the task then it may as well be near-legendary slide-man Landreth, whose virtuoso talents have been honed on both his ten previous solo outings and a lifetime of guest appearances on the road and in the studio.
Sharing the credits with rocker Joe Satriani on opener ‘Gaia Tribe’ makes a lot of sense, launching the collection with a blast, before introducing an impressive range of less energetic but equally enticing world flavours from Trinidadian steel pans (on ‘Forgotten Story’) to Zydeco (‘Wonderide’) and symphonic strings (on no fewer than five tracks). The range on display here will delight some long-time admirers and dismay others – it’s several leagues from what they’re used to – but the commitment and style is beyond doubt, and at the very least they should find it a grower.