Michael Jerome Browne The Road is Dark (Borealis Records)
This road is dark indeed. And blue.
A mainstay of the Canadian roots and blues scene, Michael Jerome Browne has released outstanding albums over his career, and this new project may be his finest yet. With slide guitar as primary focus, a bit of banjo and 12-string, some washboard, harmonica, and mandolin, The Road is Dark was recorded live with no overdubs.
An acoustic album, Browne explores the essence of the blues- death, steppin’ out, addiction, jail, and redemption- through 14 songs that are as powerful as they are enjoyable. Perhaps the finest blues album we’ve heard this year, there is no frivolity on the back roads Browne travels here. Highlights include Married Woman, Sinner’s Plea, and If Memphis Don’t Kill Me.
(Originally published in the Red Deer Advocate, December 16 2011)