- Sounds Of Home
- Damon Fowler
- Blind Pig
First published in Big City Blues magazine.
Not every precocious musical wunderkind makes good, but this one has.
Fowler, a Florida native, began playing guitar at twelve, and since has released several albums and received multiple accolades. In the last couple of years he has teamed with guitarist J.P. Soars and keyboard maven Victor Wainwright ; their combo, Southern Hospitality, produced one of 2013's best albums, "Easy Livin'." Fowler's latest solo release further burnishes his credentials.
Produced by Louisiana blues and roots luminary Tab Benoit, "Sounds of Home" features eleven tunes, eight written or co-written by Fowler. Fowler's guitar expertise is showcased on every one; he can make his axe rock, wail, shout, and cry. Particularly appealing is his prowess on lap steel guitar, as displayed on one of the best cuts of the CD, "Old Fools, Bar Stools, and Me." Fowler's virtuosity is abetted by his versatility: he can play slow blues, ballads, rockers, and, as evidenced by "Do It for Love," can do justice to a country tune as well. Throughout he is supported by the solid rhythm section of Chuck Riley on bass and James McKnight on drums; the latter's percussive thrust and creativity are top-notch.
Not to be overlooked are the contributions of Benoit, who lays down guitar support and back-up vocals on three tracks. Louisiana icon Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, a frequent Benoit collaborator, sits in on vocal on the title cut, and his smooth renderings contrast ideally with Fowler's slightly reedy and raspy delivery.
Every cut is excellent, but several stand out. "Spark," a zippy rocker, is distinguished by Fowler's and Benoit's dual vocals. "TV Mama," a 12-bar Johnny Winter tune, amusingly employs the TV as a sexual metaphor, and allows Fowler to segue from slow and gentle to raucous and driving on his guitar. "I Shall Not Be Moved," an iconic song of the civil rights movement, is given a poignant interpretation, with Fowler and Benoit displaying great vocal harmonizing. Perhaps most moving is Fowler's version of the classic Elvis Costello tune, "Alison." The singing and six string solo on this cut alone are worth the price of admission.