Rob Lutes Come Around www.RobLutes.com
Rob Lutes’ follow-up to his award-winning Walk In The Dark (Canadian Folk Music Award, Contemporary Vocals) kind of snuck up on me this spring and got lost in the shuffle that has been my most recent life. When I finally made time for it this week, I was immediately regretful.
Maybe it is because I’ve been immersed in Three Dog Night this month (https://twitter.com/FervorCoulee, #FaveArtistTop15 running through July, if you are interested) but I am hearing some of that laidback Cory Wells, It Ain’t Easy grooviness within the notes, melodies, and vocals of Come Around; play something sweet, Lutes does—the kind of stuff we can sink our teeth into like…well, you know the rest.
Country, blues, and folk come together throughout this album of Americana loveliness, impressive and even superior to the aforementioned Walk In The Dark. Lutes, blessed with a bit of John Hiatt in his vocal approach and Greg Brown in his writing style, whispers, (“That Bird Has My Wings” and “Work Of Art,”) rambles, (“In My Time of Dyin’” and “Come Around,”) and reminisces (“Shediac Bridge” and “Amsterdam”) his way with the human experience: life, love, death, and the stuff marking them.
“That Bird Has My Wings” (inspired by the writing of death-row inmate Jarvis Jay Masters) and “Fisherman’s Rest” are highlights, stellar performances in the most meaningful of manner with “Waiting For You” being both an instrumental and lyrical masterclass.
Recorded amidst the pandemic, Lutes and his compatriots recorded in a variety of studios across the country. Joining Lutes (acoustic guitar) are long-time collaborator Rob MacDonald (acoustic and electric guitars, Dobro, and mandolin,) Solon McDade (bass,) Mario Telaro (drums and percussion,) and Bob Stagg (piano, Wurlitzer, and organ) who was also on Walk In The Dark, with Annabelle Chvostek and Kim Richardson contributing backing vocals. Despite the separation, the album is entirely cohesive with no indication of distance or isolation. Rather, the album feels positive and warm in spite of the circumstances.
Come Around is blues the way we most appreciate: firmly rooted in the traditions while reaching out to the country-folk troubadour audience. Darned good.