Guy Bélanger’s seventh disc touches on the various projects that this harmonica virtuoso has been involved in over the years. His long time membership in the Bob Walsh Band gets pride of place, the opening “My Dearest Friend” being dedicated to the late singer as indeed is the entire disc. Somewhat unusually, two-time MBA winner Bélanger decided to make this disc almost entirely instrumental, putting his harmonica front and centre. “My Dearest Friend” is clearly heartfelt, with subtle accompaniment on acoustic guitar (Rob McDonald) & snare. “Fat Boy” is an uptempo song by Preston Reed, a Scottish guitarist he met at a festival, a tour de force for both Bélanger and guitarist André Lachance. “See The Light” is an excellent blues instrumental he picked up from guitarist Kaven Girouard while on tour with Céline Dion last year, Girouard takes a very nice solo. The title song is attractive and unusual: a duet for harmonica and cello. His regular band gets featured in “Common Ground”, a funky, bluesy highlight. Lachance supplies an original of his that celebrates the music of the Innu of Northern Quebec, “Nitassinan”. There are a couple of pieces that highlight his film soundtrack work as well. The disc concludes with the funky “Hot Time”, incorporating the rhythms of Louisiana & voodoo. Guy Bélanger is taking the harmonica to some quite wonderful new places, not all of them involving blues. I wish him well on his journey. The web site is www.guybelangermusic.com.

June 2017 - Dawn Tyler Watson
John's Blues Picks May 2017 - Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggio