Guy Bélanger continues his journey to take the humble harmonica to new places, to Eldorado, and he takes a superb band with him: Rob McDonald on lead guitars, Marc-André Drouin on bass and Michel Dufour on drums. “Carving the Wind” is a rocking instrumental to open. “Bright Side of the Road” takes us into pop territory with Bélanger tackling this Van Morrison classic over some fine harmonica fills. The title song is another gorgeous instrumental built on a rhumba rhythm. A classic soul opening graces a fine vocal, “When Will I Know”. It was written with Alec McElcheran, who seems to be the go-to collaborator in Quebec. “Wicked” turns on the funk with this fine band, an instrumental that feels like it could be extended at will in concert. “Hummin’” is described in the booklet as a tribute to blues after his 45 years of doing his best to play them. With viola & cello, percussion and a male choir, he delivers an impassioned vocal tribute – something unexpected but very effective and appropriate. “Ganga” is an instrumental by the Indian composer L. Subramanian with Paul Picard from Celine Dion’s band featured on percussion. This raga-tinged performance is not as out of place here as one might have suspected or feared. To go from this to Prince’s “Sign O’ The Times” is not simply eclectic, it also works. Mathis Haug takes the vocal & lead guitar solo on this one, he’s a Franco-German blues & rock singer Bélanger met on tour in Europe, very popular there but completely unknown here. “Hope & Faith” is an instrumental dedicated to a children’s choir invited to perform with Bélanger at a blues festival in France right after the Barbican attack. The children were apprehensive at first but ‘took it upon themselves to thumb their noses at those who would murder’. The album concludes with “Stillwater” which he bills as simply being about the pleasures of playing the harmonica. Long may continue and long may he be open to such diverse influences for his humble blues harmonica. Check out www.guybelangermusic.com for much more info. 

November 2019 - Sue Decker
November 2019 - Son Roberts