I only became aware of Paul Geremia when I reviewed his previous album Love, Murder, and Mosquitos in 2004. Since then, I haven’t heard anything else from the guitarist who originates from Rhode Island, but I’ve kept an ear open so I was pleased when his new live collection came my way earlier this fall.
A finger-picker of the highest order, there really- to my ears, and I’m more than open to correction- nothing that special about Geremia’s singing. Or his playing. Or his song selection; in fact, if this album came across my desk unlabeled, I might not even listen to it. But, once the disc hits the sound system, the magic begins.
The world is full of blues guitarists and singers, but darn few of them pull me into their songs the way Paul Geremia does. Culled from recordings made in a variety of venues over the years, the majority of the tracks stem from 2002-2007 and reveal that time has done nothing to diminish the control over which Geremia can impose on a song. All but two of the songs feature only Geremia playing 6- and 12-string guitars and harmonica.
See See Rider kicks things off with a familiar groove and slides nicely into Shuckin’ Sugar Blues. Geremia loves the Delta and country blues, and doesn’t deviate from those foundations through this hour-long set. He explores songs from Blind Willie McTell, Sleepy John Estes, Huddie Ledbetter, Charlie Patton, and Blind Lemon Jefferson while weaving in some of his own songs, songs that fit seamlessly with the songs that taught Geremia the rules.
Death Don’t Have No Mercy, a dark and fearsome tune, is a highlight as is the aching Where Did I Lose Your Love?