Cape Breton Blues Legend Matt Minglewood debuts album # 14 to kick off 2017. He is a pioneer of that uniquely East Coast blend of blues, country & rock and Fly Like Desperados has eleven new songs and one cover firmly in that vein. He also has a hot new band to play them: Emily Dingwall is on bass & vocals, 16 year old Nick McInnis on guitar, Jeff Stapleton on keyboards & vocals and long time drummer Moon McInnis. Special guests Roly Platt on harmonica & Mike Little on Hammond organ join the band for the recording. “Amsterdam”, the first single, and the opening song here, is more to the country side of the blend but it’s a fine song indeed: he and his new love are going to ‘fly like desperados’ to Amsterdam. There is a video for this one at his web site. “Shackles and Chains” is much more to the blues side, a downbeat tale of a man paying for his sins. Roly Platt adds some fine harp to the guitar solos. The gorgeous “Soft Place To Fall” sees him returning to his childhood home and safety. The harmony vocals are just superb. “Sister Cool” is another well-written rocker, about the activities of his ex-wife. “Kandahar” is an amazing song about what it was like serving in Afghanistan. He clearly had an honest talk with a few veterans. The song ends with the national anthem on electric guitars, shades of Jimi. Rodney Crowell’s “Closer To Heaven” is an ambitious performance, this tribute to the common man comes complete with a soaring chorus and soaring guitars. On an album for and about the working class, this one fits right in. Back to the blues is “Weakness”, again with Roly Platt, with remarkable insight into the human condition. “Yourself To Blame” is equally good and an equally good insight. Social and political commentary is within his gaze too – he’s so fed up with what’s going on in the world, he wants to go back to being “Young And Dumb”, a superb rocker with some very clever rhymes. “Broken Dreams” is an even more searing “Khandahar” – a veteran sends his son off to war but to a very different war. Minglewood gives us a glimpse into the condition of our returning soldiers. A lighter song concludes: “Nova Scotia Boogay” is a rocking diatribe against too many songs about Texas. There are no soft songs here, this bands rocks out, the songs are excellent, the singing superb and it’s beautifully recorded. At 70, Minglewood does not have to pull any punches. Check out www.mattminglewood.com and have a look at all the awards he’s won. This one will surely get him more.

John’s Blues Picks February 2017 – Steve Kozak
John’s Blues Picks February 2017 – Harry Manx