From the Water
Linden is serious about outside-the-mainstream blues. Maybe it comes from his association with singer/harmonicat Paul Reddick, a fellow Canadian who often enlists Linden for production and slide-guitar duties and who has an even stronger penchant for the offbeat.
But Linden, raised in the United States and currently a Nashville resident, also is into other forms of Americana: folk and country, in particular. On “From the Water,” a strong Band influence is felt, and the album is dedicated to recently departed friend Richard Bell, who played keyboards for Janis Joplin and the post-Robbie Robertson version of The Band.
Linden himself has produced 70 albums and played on more than 300 recordings. He has seven Junos (Canada’s Grammy), is a member of roots supergroup Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, and was guitarist for Emmylou Harris on last year’s world tour.
All these experiences, genres and influences come together for “Water,” his finest hour. The slide guitar work alone (electric and acoustic), honed from 30 years of playing country blues, is worth the price of admission.
The centerpiece of the record (literally, tracks 8 through 10) is made up of re-recordings of Linden songs from Reddick’s 2008 album, “SugarBird,” in markedly different arrangements and again with Reddick on harmonica.
Elsewhere, there are some deliriously down-home numbers (the title track; the lone cover song, Blind Teddy Darby’s “Built Right on the Ground”; the Bell tribute “Smoke ‘Em All”), a trio of tunes that Rick Danko easily could have made his own (“I Have Seen a Miracle,” “Sinking Down Slow,” “The Heaven Me”) and a stab at soul (“Between the Darkness and the Light of Day,” written with another Band v.2 alumnus, Jim Weider).
Other collaborations include two with Nashville guitarist/songwriter/producer Gary Nicholson (“The Price You Pay,” “God Will Always Remember Your Prayers”) and one with Bell that was finished in the hospital just before he went (“Trouble Only Comes in 3’s”).
Lending some precision cred to a couple of songs are the well-traveled Memphis Horns.
1. From The Water
2. Mon Couer Est Dans Tes Mains
3. Built Right On The Ground
4. Smoke ‘Em All
5. Trouble Only Comes In 3’s
6. Between The Darkness and The Light Of Day
7. I Have Seen a Miracle
9. John Lennon in New Orleans
10. Later Than You Think
11. The Price You Pay
12. Sinking Down Slow
13. The Heaven Me
14. God Will Always Remember Your Prayers
Total time: 56:35