Paul is of course the guitar playing half of Dawn & Paul, the popular Quebec duo. On those albums, the guitar playing is mostly subdued, in the service of those excellent songs. Here he gets to show us his chops. His playing partner is Anwar Khurshid on sitar and what a duo they make. On some earlier such collaborations the guitar has had to accommodate much more to Eastern styles but this is very much a joint effort, including a ‘Western’ rhythm section with a full drum kit instead of a tabla player. First up is the title song and the trading of solos is simply superb. From a quiet beginning and with some memorable basic materials, by the end of eleven minutes it has built up to a fair head of steam. “Enter The Gate” serves its purpose very well. “Midnight On Dorion” leans more on the sitar, with Khurshid getting a short vocal and it is almost as long. Their version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” shows what they can do with traditional material. DesLauriers handles the first portion with a vocal that builds to a powerful crescendo helped along with some incredible slide guitar, then after a slight pause, the sitar joins in with some marvelous rapid string picking. Paul then gets another slide solo before the song ends. DesLauriers proves here also that he is at least as good a singer as he is a guitar player – so dramatic is his vocal. The next two songs are a pair: “When in Brome…” is mostly Anwar while “Do As Bromans Do” is mostly Paul, again with remarkable soloing from both. “Anwar G” is a flute solo by Anwar with a lovely melody but a bit out of place, I thought. “Norwegian Wood” was, I believe, the first appearance of a sitar in a pop tune. It gets no heroics here but the song does get a strong vocal from Paul. The concluding improvisation is the place to mention Sam Harrison on drums and Greg Morency on bass as they get well-deserved solos and they must be given kudos for their work throughout. Harrison’s contribution is especially important to “Enter The Gate” and “Nobody’s Fault” and he should be seriously considered for Drummer of the Year in the Maple Blues Awards. Every lover of stringed instruments should hear this CD. The web sites are www.pauldeslauriers.ca & www.anwarkhurshid.com.

John's Blues Picks September 2013 - Ben Sures
John's Blues Picks September 2013 - Little Miss Higgins & The Winnipeg Five