Wide Mouth Mason impressed a lot of people in the mid 90’s when this young trio from Saskatoon emerged. I remember a packed house at the Horseshoe Tavern for their CD launch, a self-titled release on Warner Music. They soon left the blues part of their blues rock behind for six more albums, earning several JUNO nominations along the way. They are back now as a duo and diving deep into the blues. Original members Shaun Verreault, on vocals & his unique ‘threestyle’ lap steel or resonator/dobro (played with three slides) and Safwan Javed, on percussion & vocals are joined by several guests. The songs fall into three groups: some attractive, mostly acoustic blues, three radio-friendly rockers and some heavy blues-rock. First, the acoustic ones: Verreault’s multiple slides propel an angry “Some Kind of Requiem”. A very good traveling song is “High Road” with just guitar & mandolin. “I Wanna Go with You” makes for such a pleasing request, it would be hard to say no. “Stay for A Couple More” adds another well-written blues as our narrator isn’t quite ready to leave although perhaps he should be. Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson joined Wide Mouth Mason for their 2011 album No Bad Days and now his bandmate Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe adds harmonica here to “Outsourced”, a well-written ode to closed company towns. As for the radio-friendly ones, “Every Red Light” has a delightful melody as we hear the tale of his delayed journey to his girl. Vancouver soul singer Tonye Aganaba adds harmony vocals here. “Anywhere’ is even better, a road trip anthem. The album’s closer is a very nice ballad, “You Get Used to it”. The blues rock we’ve come to expect begins with the rocking opener “Bodies in Motion” with Verrette’s heavily amplified slide proving that you have to keep moving, the alternative is just not happening for him. “Only Child” comments on the loneliness of being without siblings, Verreault is, so is his daughter and Javed as well, it’s another slide-driven rocker. The first single is the doomy “Erase Any Trace (I Was Here)”, a blast of blues rock written with David Gogo. There is a lyric video for this one. Shawn “The Harpoonist” Hall adds harp on a bluesy take on a David Bowie song, “Modern Love”, a deliberation on what love and marriage means in a world without religion. Their web site is www.widemouthmason.com and you should check back there for news on CD and LP availability. It’s available digitally now.