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Published: 2005/03/05
by Matt Brockett

Grant Street – Sonny Landreth

Grant Street is a snapshot of the live zydeco-blues-rock powerhouse that is Sonny Landreth on guitar, David Ranson on bass, and Kenneth Blevins on drums. Landreth has a long history with the Lafayette, Louisiana dancehall where the album was recorded live in 2004, over two nights of his traditional April gig there. The band’s sound is rollicking and fun one moment ("Gone Pecan"), and blues-soaked and heartfelt the next ("Broken Hearted Road"). Sonny and the boys can quickly and easily grab the attention of anyone who has a taste for the blues and can appreciate some damn fine slide guitar playing, and they do just that with the scorching opener "Native Stepson." Landreth’s incredibly full sound comes from his amazing ability to play slide guitar solos using both his fingers (!) and the slide simultaneously, producing several notes at once, a talent very few musicians have mastered.

On tunes like "Wind In Denver," Landreth shows off his "built for the blues" singing voice, and he plays his notes so perfectly in tune with his vocals that at times it truly seems as if his guitar is singing backup for him. Of course, no blues is complete without stories of cheating women, and the rocker "Blues Attack" brings just that as Sonny sings, "Well you know you got trouble when you call on the phone, and a stranger tell you that your baby ain't home."

The more adventurous side of the band can be heard on the final track, "Congo Square," where Sonny plays a tight crunchy intro and closing riff that is nowhere close to being the blues, but it fits perfectly and sounds great. Sonny is undoubtedly an incredible guitar player with many qualities that make him even better, like his willingness to take chances, and that wonderful ability to play leads that are a beautiful combination of enthusiasm and restraint, raging forward and never rushing a single note.

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