Eric Bibb’s last few studio efforts have proven he can deliver the goods when it comes to folk, blues, and soul music. And with Troubadour Live, we get a feel for his stage presence and versatility; all but one of the live cuts here also feature veteran Swedish guitarist Staffan Astner, and it’s obvious they are comfortable playing together.
Bibb is a great storyteller, as is evident from the ﬁrst cut, “The Cape,” a tale of hope and faith accompanied by Bibb’s ﬁngerpicked acoustic. Astner joins for the country-blues boogie of “New Home.” Bibb’s husky vocal is accented by Astner’s thick ﬁlls, and he takes the song to a different place with a solo that burns. “Shavin’ Talk” has a lyric that resonates, ﬁne acoustic from Bibb, and a punchy electric solo from Astner. The gospel group Psalm4 brings a pop/soul feel to “For You,” which also shows Bibb’s comfort level outside the blues and proves Astner’s versatility.
Bibb’s acoustic guitar is big and full, and his ﬁngerpicking plays to the strengths of the songs. Astner has an amazing tone – clean, but hot. Coupled with his chops and knowledge, his work here practically serves as a tutorial on how to play electric guitar.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.