|To Be Played Over and Over and Over Again!
Villanelle, noun: 1: a 16th century Italian rustic part-song unaccompanied and in free form. 2: an instrumental piece in the style of a rustic dance. 3: A superb album by singer/songwriter Paul Reddick and producer/collaborator Colin Linden.
Ok, Merriam-Webster is a bit vague, but the liner notes on the album tell how a Villanelle is a "centuries old form of work song." That only begins to describe the depth of this album. These songs will touch your soul and transport you back and forth through time whether it's as a wandering, harp-blowing cowboy, a struggling migrant worker, or a pioneer in a new land. Paul Reddick is one of the only bluesmen on whose albums you can find references from Dylan Thomas and William Blake juxtaposed with those of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.
The sound of the album runs the spectrum of sound. One moment you're bombarded in bass and harp from "Big Not Small" and the next you're whisked off to ol' timey land with songs such as "So Long, Thank You, Goodbye." And just once you've got your toe tapping, Reddick will pause with an introspective balled such as "Round This Time Of Year."
Long time collaborator, Collin Linden, helps make this album come alive with various blends of sharp electric Blues, twangy Americana strings, and moody soundscapes that blend in perfectly with Paul's vocals and harp. And when necessary Paul and Collin brings in the rest of The Sidemen for the rockin' sounds of such songs, as "Six Was The Six."
Their last album, Rattlebag, was nominated for a Handy Award, and buzz around the office is that Villanelle is bound to be another. Just watch and see! Our magic 8-ball even says so!
For the best variety and sound in Blues and Americana to be heard, Villanelle is the album to head straight for. You'll find yourself playing it over and over again, and never grow tired of listening to it.
10 out of 10.