From the opening riffs of “Native Stepson” to the closing bars of “Congo
Square”, Grant Street is a rocking celebration of the unique sound and
style of axe man extraordinaire, Sonny Landreth. Clocking in at just over an
hour and four minutes, this disc is a phenomenal recording, documenting the live
skills of a truly gifted musician.
Landreth, who has performed guitar magic on other’s records including blues
legend, Junior Wells, Dolly Parton and John Hiatt (as part of John Hiatt and the
Goners), has released 7 solo albums between 1992 and 2005. Those solo releases
were solid, always full of excellent guitar work, but Grant Street, the
first live release by Landreth absolutely sizzles out of the speakers.
Landreth’s distinctive voice sounds better live, edgier than the cleaned up
versions that appear on record. Make no mistake, the star of this disc is the
guitar wizardry which is complimented by a tight band featuring (fellow Goners)
David Ranson on Bass and Kenneth Blevins on drums.
Grant Street is composed of 11 tracks. Five of them make there first
appearance on this record while the remaining tracks are versions of songs from
his previous releases. It is difficult to select a favorite track because as a
complete listen, this is one hell of a live album. Two tracks that might stand a
smidge above the rest are the scintillating version of “All about You” from
2003’s The Road We're On and the straight ahead blues stomper “Wind in
Denver” which does not appear on the previous studio recordings.
If you have never purchased anything by Sonny Landreth and are curious, this is
definitely a start. If you haven’t heard a good live record in a while, look no
further. If you crave a good solid blues record with just a different flavor,
you should check out Grant Street. This is an early favorite to make a
year’s best list.
~R. David Smola