Colin James got his start back in the eighties sharing a stage with Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the ensuing years, this Canadian artist has released nineteen albums and assembled a presentation case full of JUNO and MAPLE BLUES awards. With the release of his new album, Miles To Go, he is certain to add to the collection.
On the latest recording, he pays his respects to some of the greats of the blues (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Arthur Crudup, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Walter Davis) by bringing their songs a renewed liveliness. For some, they are almost note for note homages; on others he reworks the originals with a flair that is uniquely Colin. His respect and love of the blues shines through in all cases. He also includes two songs that he wrote, 40 Light Years and I Will Remain. The latter is a beautiful tune that should get a lot of airplay as time goes by.
I enjoyed the smooth blues funk of One More Mile and the upbeat delta sound of Dig Myself a Hole and Soul of a Man. Colin is truly a master of the grindin blues on I Need Your Love So Bad and a song by Jesse Mae Robinson (a popular and prolific songwriter of the 1940’s and 50’s) entitled Black Night. My favorite roadhouse tunes on the CD are Still A Fool, Ooh Baby Hold Me, and Tears Came Rolling Down; all are perfect platforms for Colin’s voice and artistry on the guitar.
I went back and listened to some of Colin’s prior work and on this album and his previous one, Blue Highways, he seems to be settling in as a serious blues man. Here’s to hoping that in the many miles he has left to travel that he continues to bring us his unique and insightful rendering of the blues.
Colin James – Miles To Go (Stony Plain Records 2018)