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Colin Linden - From the Water

True North Records

Colin Linden has released an acoustic CD that has been in my CD player for one full week. Each time I press “play” on From the Water, I hear something new, and appreciate the haunting title song that opens the CD, and Colin’s reworking of Blind Teddy Darby’s song from the early 1930’s, “Built Right on the Ground,” is a classic Delta interpretation of a regrettably little-known bluesman.
“Between the Darkness and the Light of Day” is a classic example of the songwriter’s craft: it’s deceptively simple, built around a basic snare drum, soft acoustic strumming, and understated horn fills. Colin’s got The Memphis Horns along, too: Wayne Jackson on trumpet, Tom McGinley on saxophone and Jack Hale on trombone. While the song mulls over being “bound by pride and fooled by desire,” it ends on an optimistic note seeing “the dawn coming around the bend/Yesterday’s sorrows are about to end.” We need more songs like this that point us in positive directions.

Colin’s band features the foundation of John Dymond on bass, Gary Craig and Bryan Owings on drums, John Whynot on keyboards, and Paul Reddick on harmonica. Whitey Johnson contributes some driving National Resophonic guitar on “The Price You Pay.”

Linden began playing in coffee houses when he was 12, and since then, his career has included several East Coast Music Awards-Canada trophies, a half-dozen Juno Awards (Canada’s most prestigious music honor), plus a shelf-full of Maple Blues Awards, Canada’s national blues award hosted by the Toronto Blues Society every January. He’s been a recognized song-writer, producer and performer, having toured with Keb’ Mo,’ Bruce Cockburn, and is a key player in Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (an outfit featuring Colin, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson, initially formed to honor the memory of Canadian troubadour Willie P. Bennett). I knew that he produced Janiva Magness’ Northern Blues CD, Bury Him at the Crossroads, but I didn’t know he has 69 additional producing credits in addition to that 2004 CD.

After listening to From the Water, I’m going to check out Colin’s ten other releases, plus find CDs from the Rodeo Kings (love Stephen Fearing’s cowboy get-up!). While my knowledge of French is haphazard at best, Colin’s “Mon Coeur Est Dans Tes Mains” is a touching love song and I hope it gets radio play not only in Francophone countries (and provinces), but on mainstream blues radio as well.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society, a proud recipient of a Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation. Please visit  for more information on the Washington Blues Society

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