Our master of the less-is-more school of blues is back with a new collection. As you might be able to tell from the cover and the title, Morgan Davis’ latest reflects the life of a travelling bluesman. The title song opens, with Morgan singing of the motels he searches for on the road, it’s family-run operations that make him feel comfortable. It’s just him on guitar, the way he travels most often these days and it sounds like his cigar-box guitar at that.

We are treated to a string of trio performances after this, songs no doubt composed in those motel rooms away from home. Longtime friends Alec Fraser on bass and Mark Mariash on drums & percussion join Morgan, with the first of these, “Atlantic Time” proving how he has come to enjoy the maritime lifestyle. The patented Morgan Davis groove has always been one of my favourites and it continues for “Riding Free”, he is no longer anxious about his partner and it gives him much freedom. A song about lost love, though, is up next as he thinks he’ll just be “A Pebble In Your Shoe” from now on.

Colin Linden, another old friend and frequent collaborator, adds some fine slide work on this one. “Something New” is his solution to the world’s many problems – just try love. “Inside Weather Report” and ”I Got The Touch” provide charming and intimate details about that home life. “Natural Medication” returns to his “Reefer Smokin’ Man” theme and some good advice. Robert Frank’s “Last Night I Gave Up Smoking (And Tonight I’ll Give up You)” is the one cover and, with a title like that, it’s not hard to see why it appealed to him.

Morgan’s groove works very well indeed with train rhythms, as you’ll hear on “I’ll Take The Train”. “Short Time Long Time Gone” is a gospel tune dealing with his aging and desire to get as much done as he can, including this disc. Samantha Martin, Sherie Marshall & Stacie Tabb add call & response harmonies as only they can. A short instrumental version of the attractive title tune takes us out. As you read this, Morgan is taking the train, he’s the onboard entertainer on VIA’s Canadian from Vancouver to here, but the closest he gets to performing here is in Picton on October 19th. More tour info will be at www.morgandavis.com. Even if you don’t get to see him this time, get the CD, you won’t regret it.

John's Blues Pick October 2017 - Jason Buie
John's Blues Pick October 2017 - Rob Lutes