I’ve never really ‘got’ what others saw and heard in Toronto’s Paul Reddick. Not his fault, not mine either. Sometimes, things just don’t click. But now, I believe I’m coming around.
On Sugar Bird, and with the assistance of producer and album mainstay Colin Linden, the blues troupe leader strips things back a bit and finds a sound that is refreshing and fully developed. This is closer, to my ears, to the music one expects from Michael Jerome Brown- a bit of traditional folk and country are mixed in with Reddick’s blues- only more elaborately presented.
Reddick is not young by any stretch, but his vocal presence has now matured to the point where I think he could carry an album with minimal accompaniment. The always interesting Linden does the heavy lifting throughout the album, playing his usual complement of guitars- and in at least one spot- some banjo.
Utilizing four distinct musician configurations, the album contains as many apparent atmospheres; there is a bit of big band, an intimate trio, and some spooky country blues. It is wonderful to hear Garth Hudson on a few tracks, and John Whynot’s piano on John Lennon in New Orleans is beautiful.
With something for everyone, Sugar Bird is that rare album that successfully cuts across multiple genres.