Eric Bibb review…March 28, 2017…

ERIC BIBB

MIGRATION BLUES

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1395

REFUGEE MOAN–DELTA GETAWAY–DIEGO’S BLUES–PRAYIN’ FOR SHORE–MIGRATION BLUES–FOUR YEARS, NO RAIN–WE HAD TO MOVE–MASTERS OF WAR–BROTHERLY LOVE–LA VIE C’EST COMME UN OIGNON–WITH A DOLLA’ IN MY POCKET–THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND–POSTCARD FROM BOOKER–BLACKTOP–MORNIN’ TRAIN

Eric Bibb is one of our favorite artists, a true world-traveling troubadour.  He returns to the contemporary blues arena with a scintillating collection of originals and covers, entitled “Migration Blues,” for Stony Plain Records.

In Eric’s mind, we are all refugees of some sort, migrating to somewhere for a reason—be it the promise of employment, to escape persecution, or, just to pursue one’s dreams—and the music on this set embodies that ideal.  The arrangements on these songs are sparse and respectful, altho they convey an urgent, powerful message.  Eric is on vocals and guitars, with a core group of Michael Jerome Brown on guitars, fiddle, and backing vocals, JJ Milteau on harps, and Ollie Linder on drums.

The opening track sets the tone for the remainder of the set.  Eric’s vocal and JJ’s plaintive harp on “Refugee Moan” explain the plight of those willing to risk it all in search of the “Promised Land,” while on the “Delta Getaway,” you can’t get any plainer than Eric’s belief that “it’s not God’s will to keep the black man down,” but the “evil Jim Crow laws” of the pre-Civil Rights era segregated South.  That same theme reappears as Eric covers Dylan’s “Masters Of War,” where those who “build all the bombs,” “hide behind walls,” and “build to destroy” will one day pay their own ultimate price.

Michael, on fiddle, and JJ, on harp, offer up a sprightly instrumental, “La Vie C’est Comme Un Oignon,” in tribute to the Acadians forced out of their homes in the Canadian Maritime Provinces during the French And Indian War.  They eventually settled nearly a continent away, in Louisiana, becoming known as Cajuns.  The set closes with the redemption of the traditional “Mornin’ Train,” where Eric and Ulrika Bibb sing “all my sins have been taken away,” bringing the set full-circle.

In today’s troubled society, Eric Bibb reminds us that prejudice, fear, and ignorance are the real problems–not the courageous souls that make up the characters and events chronicled in the compelling songs of “Migration Blues.”    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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