No slide guitarist since Ry Cooder has made his strings shimmer and soar, growl and cry the way Sonny Landreth does. Though his sideman credits extend from a zydeco apprenticeship with Clifton Chenier through his breakthro... more »ugh association with John Hiatt, Landreth finds a unique musical niche on his own recordings, combining the literacy of a Southern storyteller with the chops of a guitar hero. This belated successor to 1995's South of I-10 evokes the spirit of Landreth's native Louisiana, in the atmospheric narratives of the title cut, "This River," and "Deep South," as well as in the rambunctious rhythms of "The U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile" and the instrumental "Z. Rider." Hiatt, Jennifer Warnes, and Bonnie Raitt provide cameo vocal support, as Landreth's slide slices through the album's occasional overproduction. --Don McLeese« less
No slide guitarist since Ry Cooder has made his strings shimmer and soar, growl and cry the way Sonny Landreth does. Though his sideman credits extend from a zydeco apprenticeship with Clifton Chenier through his breakthrough association with John Hiatt, Landreth finds a unique musical niche on his own recordings, combining the literacy of a Southern storyteller with the chops of a guitar hero. This belated successor to 1995's South of I-10 evokes the spirit of Landreth's native Louisiana, in the atmospheric narratives of the title cut, "This River," and "Deep South," as well as in the rambunctious rhythms of "The U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile" and the instrumental "Z. Rider." Hiatt, Jennifer Warnes, and Bonnie Raitt provide cameo vocal support, as Landreth's slide slices through the album's occasional overproduction. --Don McLeese
Patrick Earley | Edmond, Oklahoma USA | 02/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been 5 long years since Sonny Landreth's last album, and that's too long. But man, it was worth the wait. This album is fantastic! First rate in every way. Landreth has written some great songs in these last 5 years,and his singing is as strong as ever. And he still has that trademark tone from his slide guitar that sounds like nobody else around. This guy is definitly the show pony of all sliders. It simply doesn't get any better than this. With special guests on this album like Stephen Bruton, John Hiatt, Bonnie Raitt, and Jennifer Warnes, and production from Mike Post, this is a heavyweight album. Some favorites on here are the fast cajun feelgood song "U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile", "Turning With The Century", which has got Landreth's trademark slide and a very New Orleans sound, but with a rock and roll edge. And "Broken Hearted Road", which is the bluesiest sounding song on here, with a slow Delta style groove and great singing. There's not a weak song to be found on here. So If you want to hear some great deep southern rock and roll gumbo, I recommend you visit Levee Town. You'll be glad you did."
I saw this UFO flying up over top of the swamp...
Michael S. Norton | Seminole, FL United States | 12/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow...I have been studying the art of slide guitar for a while. Let's be clear on this, after hearing Levee Town, I am convinced that Sonny Landreth is not even from this planet.For those of you who have heard Sonny's work previously, this album is a bit more laid back than either Outward Bound or South of I-10, yet the slide work is by far, light years beyond what I have heard from him thus far. For those of you who have never heard him before, be prepared. You'll never hear anything like it again. The opening track, Levee Town, is highly contagious. A foot tapping number that's very dancable, but make no mistake, Sonny gets right to some aggressive and impressive slide guitar work. U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile is equally motivating and upbeat. I believe this CD is the closest thing to party music I have heard Sonny release. Throughout the CD he explores folk, contemporary, cajun and blues genres with flair and maturity. I recommend you buy two copies of this CD; you're gonna wear the first one out. For those of you who might be new to Sonny's work, I have always described him this way...if Ry Cooder was the Eric Clapton of slide guitar, then Sonny Landreth would have most certainly been the Joe Satriani...he's just that good."
A masterful blend of styles by a masterful guitarist
Nobody important | 12/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If David Lindley had come from the Bayou, he might sound a bit like this. While Landreth lacks some of Lindley's playfulness, his mature writing makes up for it. This is the type of album that gives me hope for the future of blues-based music. While Landreth is easily one of the most skilled slide guitarists around, that isn't why I love this album so much. What impresses me more than anything is the stylistic originality. Landreth has truly crafted his own unique sound, and a bit more than on South of I-10 (which, don't get me wrong, is a brilliant album), this album shows his ability to bring together a unique array of sounds, blending equal parts blues, rock, country, cajun and creole. If you are into this kind of blending of blues with other genres, check out the following other musicians: as mentioned above, David Lindley, who blends slide blues, rock, reggae and an odd assortment of other forms is probably closer to Landreth than almost anyone else (although Landreth is still in a stylistic realm all his own); Corey Harris (particularly on Greens from the Garden) does a unique blend of blues and cajun; Tony Furtado (particularly on Roll My Blues Away, and if you can find it, his latest self-titled album) blends masterful slide blues, banjo bluegrass, Celtic, folk and some jazz; Chris Whitley (particularly Dirt Floor) has an almost completely original and gripping vision of acoustic country blues; and finally, for those slide blues enthusiasts, my personal favorite, Kelly Joe Phelps (particularly Roll Away the Stone, and Shine-Eyed Mister Zen) is the most amazingly skilled slide guitarist I have heard in years, and plays blues songs that are structured like jazz improvisations. With musicians like these, all of whom are masters of slide blues guitar, the future of music is looking bright."
Michael S. Norton | 11/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't think of enough superlatives to describe this cd. It is so outstanding. Sonny's writing has gone to a new level , and if you close your eyes and listen, he will take you on a journey thru the "Deep South" on the "USS Zydecoldsmobile". Along the way you'll rock, do a little two step, sing along and marvel. Songwriting this good is usually mentioned in reverential tones in regards to such writers as Richard Thompson or Bruce Springsteen or Robbie Robertson. Sonny cares about the craft of the song and it shows. Oh, have I mentioned that he is the best damn slide guitarist in the solar system as well. He has found a range of tone that exists in that tapping harmonic zone that no one else dare touch because it requires too much skill and study. Except Sonny lives there. Sonny , in a review for "South of I-10" I said "where are you and phone home". Well , welcome back, it was worth the wait and I hope I get to see you in Colorado some time, because if not,well I guess I'll just have to go to Louisiana again. You guitarist out there, buy this. Those of you reading these reviews, its no bull, this guy is this good. There are millions of music fans who dont know a thing about music running the music stores and programming the radio. Don't let that deter you from Sonny Landreth. Gotta go, the Zydecoldsmobile has to stop for a Mardi Gras run."
Mind-blowing slide player with a lot more to offer
ramsd | Dunellen, NJ USA | 05/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a guitar player for a number of years who has only recently become interested (obsessed?) with slide guitar. Sonny is phenomenal. Dead on intonation while playing fast, difficult slide parts. Great technique is only the delivery mechanism for some really heart felt music. He somehow takes virtuoso guitar, with blues/zydeco/rock influences, and the tradition of great southern storytellers and makes it cohesive. His performance at the NO Jazz Festival was intelligent, inspiring and was a great introduction to his music. I feel very fortunate. I came home and bought this CD and was glad to hear he wasn't an artist who only came across live. With the diversity and uniqueness of his style I thought that might be the case. Well it's not so you should go out and get this CD. I have ordered some of his other recordings as well and expect more of the same; a great BLEND of music styles with mind-blowing guitar playing."