|When Glamour Puss, then known as the Glamour Puss Blues Band, released
their self-titled debut album in 1997. I, like many others, made a mental
note that this New Brunswick roots/blues/zydeco band was an act to watch.
Blues Du Jour, released two years later, confirmed the promise they had so
clearly displayed on that first album. Electric & Alive, released in 2001,
captured the band at its dynamic best, pumping out one big tune after
another at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. Each of these records raised
my appreciation for the band another notch.
That being said I still wasn't quite prepared for what awaited me on Wire &
Wood, the band's first studio album in four years and their initial offering
for Fred Litwin's highly regarded NorthernBlues Music label. Wire & Wood is
without question Glamour Puss's finest offering to date, a career-making
album from a band that has grown immeasurably in the seven years since
guitarist Travis Furlong, drummer Ron Dupuis, bass player Paul Boudreau,
keyboard player/accordionist Roger Cormier and sax player Don Rogers, all
seasoned players, first put their heads together.
Glamour Puss has been tagged as one of this country¹s great party bands
because of the energy and unadulterated joy they inject into their live
sets, but there is a level of maturity on Wire & Wood that takes the band
far beyond the 'party band' designation. That's not to suggest they¹ve lost
that element of their music. On the contrary, their sound is as big and
bold as ever. What I'm suggesting is that the caliber of their original
material, the diversity of that material and the presentation of that
material has reached a whole new level, one well beyond where they were at
the time of Blues Du Jour.
Wire & Wood is almost exclusively an original album, with 13 new songs from
Furlong and Cormier, several of which are killers. On the top of that list
are Hollow man, You¹re Rich I'm Poor, If You Miss Me, Dangereuse, the only
track on the album recorded solely in French, and Mama Don't Play No Zydeco
which appears in both English and French versions. Glamour Puss got some
first class help in putting this album together in the form of
producer/musician Michael Jerome Browne. Browne, a major talent in his own
right, has a deep affinity for the blues and, as his own albums clearly
attest, an innate sense of when to push the envelope and when to lay back.
The vocal work is solid throughout the album and there's some primo guitar
work here from Furlong, particularly on You're Rich I'm Poor, Blues For
Sheila, Million-Air and the title track. Browne, a multi-instrumentalist,
contributed guitar, fiddle and some vocal harmonies. Rising Maritime blues
star Charlie A'Court, who made his first appearance in Charlottetown this
week, sharing the bill with Mick Taylor, also played some guitar on the
album. Wire & Wood rates serious consideration for ECMA album of the year.
And it certainly won't hurt their chances of breaking into markets in the
U.S. and abroad.