Acoustic-blues veteran David Gogo used the pandemic as an opportunity to rediscover his musical roots. The result is Silver Cup, his sixteenth album, in which the Vancouver Island resident — three-time winner of the Maple Blues Guitarist of the Year Award — displays his impressive talent as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter (he wrote or co-wrote all but one song on this recording). The CD was produced by Steve Marriner, who also plays a dizzying array of instruments here, including guitar, piano, drums and harmonica. In fact, one outstanding feature of this album is the interplay of instrumental excellence between Gogo and Marriner.

“Never Gonna Change” puts the spark to the fuse with Gogo’s formidable vocals and guitar mastery in this captivating song, written by him and producer/musician Tom Hambridge. Originally recorded by Buddy Guy in 2013, it loses none of its punch in this twelve-string acoustic version, embellished with Marriner’s piano accents. In “Whatever I Need to Do,” co-written with Eric Johnson, Gogo amps up the rhythm and evokes the spirit of a sweaty night at a dance party, articulated by rockin’ guitar and harmonica.

Gogo presents his version of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” and his voice here — sonorous with a tough edge — is a standout, enhanced by some wicked slide, harmonica and piano. His slide still smokes on “Morning Light,” then just when you think it’s over, he glides in with a dynamic solo. In the title track he wrote with Johnson — woven through with the Red River flavour of Jimmy Bowskill’s violin — Gogo sings of the provenance of a silver cup he inherited, originally belonging to a Métis forebear.

“Works for Me” is an upbeat number about a mutually satisfying relationship kept at arm’s length. Especially notable is “Blues for Dollface,” inspired by Muddy Waters and sounding like an old-time blues record, in which Gogo trades exhilarating solos with Marriner’s harp. “Old Enough to Know Better,” with its honky-tonk feel, is a fun, upbeat number that features rousing guitar, piano and harmonica. Named after his vintage Mustang, “64 ½” has Gogo and Marriner serving up a smooth, savory instrumental. The album concludes with more of Gogo’s superb vocals in “Top Shelf,” his tribute to the late musician “Free Wheelin’” Frank Kelly, who requested that his friends celebrate his life by drinking only the best, from those bottles kept on the shelf above the rest.

Silver Cup is a testament to David Gogo’s immense ability as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. It’s a CD well worth checking out and, like the song, deserves its place on the top shelf. (Sandra B. Tooze)