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Brandon Isaak - Bluesman’s Plea

Self Release


Canada is fertile ground for this brand of salt-of-the-earth rootsy and gritty musical journeyman. Another in the line of current one-man-bands his main instrument is finger-picked acoustic guitar, as well as the usual suspect, foot percussion. His music is blues and roots of the Delta, Piedmont, gospel, swing, ragtime and goodtimey varieties and combinations of all of the above. Brandon is a very adept guitar stylist, whether it’s straight finger-picking or Delta slide, it keeps his jaunty vibe strolling down the country road. His throaty voice and vocal style conjure up a bluesy Lyle Lovett with a less produced sound. The only extras are his brother-producer Chris on occasional drums and backup vocals. Not that Chris Isaak. Brandon adds harmonica and bass guitar when needed.

The title track evokes a walk through the Mississippi Delta with its slinky slide playing. Before you know it he has you in church with the religious toe-tapper, “You Gotta Pray”, as his sandpaper voice pleads with God. “Take My Message” has that same religious fervor, replete with a short minister’s sermon inserted in the middle. You can see his boots kick up the dust as he saunters down the road in the slow-paced “Leavin’ This Town”. In “Forever Yours” the narrator professes his unbridled and undying love to his sweetie. The vibe of the old chestnut “Just Because” runs through the oldtimey and swinging “Ain’t No Pleasin’ You”. “Jump Start Me” is a tongue-in-cheek plea to his girl to get him going. Nurturing love like tending a garden is the theme of “Water Your Garden”, where as elsewhere the Lyle Lovett comparison is evident with that gospel tinge in his voice.

All original tunes that are rooted in days of old, but retain a modern freshness, as represented here are another tale-tell sign that blues of all sorts are thriving. You just have to know where to look. Sure there are the occasional half-baked artists or rock bands posing as blues bands that come along. As with anything else the cream has a way of rising to the top. If one’s notion of acoustic blues is that of somebody whining about his hard life, you need to look no further than here to see that blues can be uplifting while making your feet jump to the beat.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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