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Guy Belanger - Crossroads (2010)

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Guy Belanger - Crossroads (2010)

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1. Where The Buffalo Sleeps
2. Got The Blues
3. Catch That Train
4. Don't Try To Explain (Avec Kim Richardson)
5. Essaouira
6. Who's Been Talkin'
7. Chassé-Croisé
8. Crossroads
9. Jack Of Hearts
10. Blue (Avec Éric Lapointe)
11. Kamikaze
12. Pleasin' You
13. Coyote
14. Sporting Life
15. 1-2-3... Harmo

Guy Belanger – vocals, harmonica
Gilles Sioui – guitar (acoustic), vocals
André Lachance – guitar, vocals
Rob MacDonald – guitars
Claude Fradette – guitar
Karl Surprenant – bass
Kim Richardson – vocals
Jean-Fernand Girard – piano
Marc-André Larocque – drums
Mélissa Lavergne – percussion

 

This is his second solo CD and they both take the harmonica to some unexpected places. A ‘Crossroads’ is a meeting place of various paths but here it’s also the name of the album’s centerpiece song. This is not the Robert Johnson composition but another one that was a hit in Europe for a transplanted Texas country singer named Calvin Russell. Bélanger’s arrangement is so bluesy & personalized, you might not ever guess its origins. Guitarist Gilles Sioui also handles the vocals, as he does for most of the CD. The CD opens with a tribute to the late Norton Buffalo and pays tribute to Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee as well (“Catch That Train” & “Sportin’ Life”). Kim Richardson handles the vocal on another highlight, Keb’ Mo’’s “Don’t Try To Explain”, a wonderful soul blues. A couple of columns ago, I reviewed a CD of Quebec pop stars singing blues and I wondered if Eric Lapointe’s version of the Tom Waits tune “Blue Valentine” would have a life in another context. Well here he is with Lucinda Williams’ song “Blue” and another fine performance, with Bélanger & the band. Bélanger does do one vocal and it’s an Anders Osborne song “Pleasin’ You”. He does a fine job, with Kim Richardson on hand as a whole chorus (a specialty of hers). There are several harmonica instrumentals among the 15-song program including “Jack Of Hearts” which provides a most welcome change of pace after the eight-minute “Crossroads” and “Kamikaze” which features Bélanger on several harmonicas. This is one crossroads you may want to visit. I think you’ll be returning often. --- John Valenteyn, torontobluessociety.com

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