Europe sure loves the blues, many blues artists, especially Canadian ones, have toured there to great success and Cliff Stevens, from Montreal, is no exception. This album, recorded over two nights at Die Halle in Reichenbach an der Fils and the Laboratorium in Stuttgart, Germany, proves that live albums can be much more than just archival documents. He performs as a power trio, with Serge Dionne on bass and Dan Dyson on drums and all the songs are from his two previous studio albums. “Don’t You Say” is the first highlight for me, with a great groove and some well-written attacks from his side of an argument. On the same theme and with another great groove is “I Want You To Tell Me”. It also has a very good guitar solo. “I Need You To Love Me” sees Stevens playing some very effective slide. A lovely blues ballad follows, “Crying My Heart Out (Over You)” – this man knows how to program a set. A major influence has been Eric Clapton, revealed here in “Running”, both vocally and in his guitar stylings. “Don’t Walk Away” is a very good slide-driven rocker that would sound great on radio. Almost as good is the closer, “Said The Wrong Thing”, another perceptive chapter in the relationship wars with another good groove. There’s no boundary pushing here, just traditional blues on a traditional subject, well written and very well performed. Maybe he’ll travel here soon and you should keep track, his web site is www.cliffstevens.com.

August 2018 - Shemekia Copeland
Loose Blues News - August 2018