Hans Theessink review…April 22, 2013…

HANS THEESSINK

WISHING WELL

BLUE GROOVE   BG2320

NEW HOME UPON THE HILL–WISHING WELL–WAYFARING STRANGER–TAKE YOUR PICTURE–SNOWIN’ ON RATON–MAKE ME DOWN A PALLET ON YOUR FLOOR–ALBERTA LET YOUR HAIR HANG DOWN LOW–LIVING WITH THE BLUES–HELLBOUND–KATHMANDU–BALLAD OF HOLLIS BROWN–DIDN’T WE TRY–EARLY THIS MORNING BLUES

 

Hans Theessink (pronounced TAY-sink) is perhaps one of Europe’s most outstanding bluesmen.  He’s traveled the world for over forty years, and has released two dozen albums and instrumental videos to teach blues guitar.  Just in time for his 65th birthday, he has just released his latest album for Blue Groove, entitled “Wishing Well.”  It is a Duke’s mixture of originals and traditional songs adapted to Hans’ inimitable style.

The set is virtually all-acoustic, filled with Hans’ almost-whispered, warm-and-welcoming baritone and deft fingerpicking.  The title cut explores two lovers who realize that the end of their relationship is nigh, and features Hans on mando-guitar.  It was written on a trip to Nepal, which also brought about “Kathmandu,” a raga featuring sweet guitar and Gyan Singh on tablas.  “Take Your Picture” is a lively country-blues with some unusual vocal inflections, while “Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor,” and “Alberta Let Your Hair Hang Down Low” show Hans’ deep affinity for traditional roots music.

There were several highlights for us, too.  The leadoff  “New Home Upon The Hill” is Hans’ ode to the recent plethora of worldwide flooding, while “Snowin’ On Raton” is his tribute to good friend Townes van Zandt.  “Delia” is the well-known tale of a murdered woman, done, perhaps most famously, by Johnny Cash.  Here, Hans adds his own bits and pieces, while staying true to the story.  And, perhaps the most powerful cut on the set is “Hellbound,” inspired by van Zandt’s love for gambling.  On this original,  brooding, spooky tale of a card game with eternal stakes, Hans employs pedal steel virtuoso Dave Pearlman to add authenticity.

A new album by Hans Theessink is always a welcomed event, and “Wishing Well” pulls together many of his influences and shows why he is one of the most respected bluesmen in the world.  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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