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Take a trip south
on July 20, 2002
Get out your road atlas and take a look at Louisiana south of I-10. I-10 runs through the great city of New Orleans and the state capital of Baton Rouge. South of there is the land of Cajun and Creole, a land of swamps, bayous and moss hanging thick from trees, and air that is so heavy with humidity that it can be cut with a knife.
To hear what it sounds like slip Sonny Landreth's disc South of I-10 into your cd player and prepare. Shooting for the Moon blasts out at you with a propulsive beat. This powerful song is just the beginning of the extent of Landreth's ability as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Creole Angel jumps out at you with a zydeco beat. Mark Knopfler assists on guitar as Sonny sings:
Bottle rocket combo got a corner on the crowd
Under her old balcony above a bar called
The Blat Cat Prowl
Sets off memories how she laughed every time
I'd break her silence with a piece of my mind
When Native Son begins, you know this is like nothing you have ever heard before. This is rollicking riotous music with a zydeco beat. Native Son is an infectious instrumental which showcases Landreth's unique slide guitar style. You can hear sliding and ringing and when checking the instruments on this song there is only the guitar the bases and the drums. It sounds like so much more.
While there is not a throw-away song on this cd Congo Square is the most commanding. It is a mesmerizing song from the first note. Congo Square takes the listener to the heart of voodoo land. As Landreth says "It might be superstition." who is going to take a chance.
Sonny Landreth is a "musician's musician", a singer/ songwirter/ guitarist who was born in 1951 and has worked professionally since being hired by zydeco bandleader Clifton Chenier in 1970. Landreth has a well established career as a sessions guitarist performing with such diverse performers, as John Hiatt, Mark Knopfler, Kenny Loggins, John Mayall, Junior wells, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Dolly Parton. As a solo performer he has come into his own and is producing music that defies classification.
As a songwriter Sonny Landreth is serious about developing his art. He notes that his influences are both southern writers and bluesmen. He claims William Faulkner as one of his influences along with noted bluesmen, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt.
Landreth is an incredible talent who produces music like no other artist. South of I-10 is a wonderful example of the kind of his music. Take a listen to it, you'll find yourself longing to take a trip south.