Manitoba Hal (Brolund) lives in Shelburne NS and plays ukelele. He plays it very well and through some FX pedals that make him sound like several players at once, an effect known as looping. He also has a custom-made double necked ukelele and a steel strung baritone slide one in his arsenal. He feels he’s somewhat looked down upon because he plays this instrument but with his proficiency and his astute use of electronics, you might be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to an electric guitar. We are treated here to a two-CD set of an evening at the Missy Sippy Blues & Roots Club in Ghent, Belgium during a European tour last year.

With his warm, effervescent vocals and choice of material, it makes for a very pleasant listening experience. Tom Waits’ “Way Down In The Hole” is an early highlight as is Barbecue Bob’s “Atlanta Moan”. “Evangeline Blues” is lovely and his own “Tastes Like Chicken” hilarious. I also liked his Willie Dixon classic “Built For Comfort”. Robert Johnson, Bukka White, John Hurt and Big Joe Williams are also well served. His take on “Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women” is especially fine. His web site shows that this is album number seventeen and although not all of them are still available, it appears that the twenty-four songs here sample a good many of them. His web site is www.manitobahal.com.

 

John’s Blues Picks April 2017 – Chris Antonik
John’s Blues Picks March 2017 – Williams, Wayne & Isaak