Rott’n Dan may be better known to you as the front man/harp player for the excellent blues rock outfit Boogie Patrol, based out of Edmonton. Lightnin’ Willy (Ryan) is not in that band but is a very good singer and acoustic guitarist, with a background in folk as well. With this CD, they show that their love of acoustic blues runs deep. Dan Shinnan clearly enjoys playing his harmonica in this setting and it’s actually quite fitting that they open with a John Hurt song as that informal, relaxing vibe runs through the album. As a duo though maybe Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee are a better comparison. “I’m Satisfied” shows Lightnin’ Willy to be a warm, engaging singer as well as a superb picker. Over half the program consists of originals and “My Belle”, written by the two of them, picks up the tempo with Lightnin’ Willy on slide and Rott’n Dan on vocals on an attractive paean to his girl. “Coliseum Station Blues” is a slow, deep blues by Lightnin’ Willy who sings about some useful advice from his girl and he sings it very convincingly, Rott’n Dan takes a virtuoso harmonica solo. They delve into some ragtime with an original instrumental, “The Lightnin’ Rag” and then Blind Blake’s “You Gonna Quit Me Blues”, Lightnin’ Willy sings this tuneful song very well. Lightnin’ Willy can write in the Piedmont style too with “Lead Water Blues” on the debilitating effects of lead poisoning. “100 Days or More” is another co-write, this time with a unison vocal, a well-done song of missing loved ones. Blind Willie McTell’s “Delia” also gets a strong performance. John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson wrote “Good Gravy”, another little-known pre-war gem with some wild harmonica from Rott’n Dan. They conclude with something far more recent: an instrumental version of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”. They recorded this album in an Edmonton radio station right after returning home from last year’s International Blues Challenge, sponsored by the Edmonton Blues Society. A couple of the songs feature a small studio audience. Not to wish that anything should happen to Boogie Patrol, but I do hope they pursue this project further. Their web site,  www.sweetsweetacousticmusic.com would appear to be under construction but they do have a facebook page.

February 2020 - Sussex
February 2020 - Fuel Junkie