Andy Cohen review…October 3, 2015…

ANDY COHEN

ROAD BE KIND

EARWIG MUSIC CD 4969

FIVE AND TEN CENT BLUES–SELDOM SEEN SLIM–SPREAD THE NEWS AROUND–ROAD BE KIND–WINDY AND WARM–MORE WOOD–HIGH COUNTRY CARAVAN (SONG FOR STEPHEN STILLS)–MYSTERIOUS MOSE–FORT SUMNER DANCE–THE GOODNIGHT-LOVING TRAIL–SEABOARD TRAIN–TALKIN’ HARD LUCK–TEN AND NINE–BLARNEY PILGRIM/JIG MCCOY–JOHN ATE THE LOCUST AND THE HONEY–BLACKBIRD

Andy Cohen is a fantastic guitar player, storyteller, and all-around keeper of the flame for traditional music.  It is not all necessarily blues, but true American music and music from the British Isles.  He’s a walking encyclopedia of this music, and has spent his whole career “folkin’ around with the blues!”  His latest set for Earwig reflects his vast knowledge of this music, and is entitled “Road Be Kind,” a collection of covers and Andy’s originals written in that authentic style.

These cuts pre-date today’s tendency to name them as part of a particular genre’, and Andy’s deft fingerpicking and warm, easy vocals bring them to life.  He starts off with his personal favorite, an original, autobiography of sorts, as he classifies himself as a “guitar picker,” “sidewinder,” and, “bullshitter!”  There are classic “character” songs such as “Seldom Seen Slim” and “Mysterious Mose,” a song that led to a cartoon that introduced the world to Betty Boop.

Andy’s picking skills take center stage on two instrumentals, the Irish-themed “Blarney Pilgrim/Jig McCoy, and John D. Loudermilk’s “Windy And Warm.”

Songs with a historical bent are well-represented, too.  Check out “The Goodnight-Loving Trail,” which tells of the route used to deliver meat to the U. S. Army, stretching from San Angelo, Texas to Cheyenne, Wyoming.  And, Mary Brooksbank, an early proponent of women’s rights in Scotland, is immortalized in the tale dealing with her epic struggles, “Ten And Nine.”

We had two favorites, too.  Andy closes the set with a sweet instrumental read on Lennon and McCartney’s “Blackbird,” one of the few “popular” songs Andy plays.  A laugh-out-loud funny song of growing up is “Talkin’ Hard Luck,” and, for us, it was like having a front-row seat down at Alice’s Restaurant!

Andy Cohen has a keen sense of purpose as he respects and keeps alive the traditions of the music set forth in “Road Be Kind.”  It is a literal musical history lesson, played at a high level from a consummate troubadour!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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