Venerable slide guitar master-educator Arlen Roth collaborates with nine peers: Lee Roy Parnell, Jack Pearson, Sonny Landreth, Cindy Cashdollar, Jimmy Vivino, the Kentucky Headhunters’ Greg Martin, Rick Vito, David Lindley, and the late Johnny Winter (to whom the album’s dedicated).
Most tunes, such as Pearson’s original “Do What’s Right,” include vocals along with plenty of slashing, keening slide. Parnell, who emerged on the country scene more than 20 years ago, ably tackles “Dust My Broom” and Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken.” Landreth and Roth have at Roth’s instrumental “Sonny Skies.”
“Rocket 88” features fiery licks from Winter, and while Cashdollar’s “Steel Guitar Rag” is way too top-heavy to swing, her ethereal take on Acker Bilk’s 1961 instrumental ballad “Stranger On The Shore” is a pleasant surprise.
Lindley and Roth reinterpret Professor Longhair’s “Her Mind Is Gone” and Vito delivers on an edgy instrumental version of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” and Roth’s engaging original “Paradise Blues.”
Vivino excels on both the dark, foreboding “Poor Boy Blues” and his unique, Delta-flavored approach to Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die.” Martin places Jimmie Rodgers’ “Peach Pickin’ Time In Georgia” in a swampier context and ends the album with an impressive, eerie “Amazing Grace.”
This article originally appeared in VG‘s August ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.