Music was considered back in the days one of the most powerful arts, able to bring people together everywhere in the world. That was a time when artists would come on stage at a music festival, armed just with a guitar and their voices to bring joy in the lives of thousands of people. The sound was simple, direct, without any artefacts of any sort, pure stripped-down music right to its bone.
This recipe has been at the heart of any music genres, folk, rock, blues, you name it. Times and technology have then, through the years, partially dismantled the concept of that straight-to-your-face music approach and because of this, it is an absolute joy to see that, in this present time of the world, there are artists brave enough willingly to play simple and wonderful music belonging to a sadly bygone era.
Holly Hyatt and Jon Burden from Canada, on their third official release called Shufflin' The Blues, bring back, under form of a live concert, the purity and beauty of playing acoustic and semi-electric blues without any overdubs or programming in a 9-tracks live performance recorded at The Silverton Gallery in British Columbia.
The voices and the instruments of Hyatt and Burden work in magnificent harmony throughout the whole record. While Hyatt's voice is able to travel gracefully and flawlessly through a wide variety of genres like jazz, folk, blues or even be-bop (she is also a talented bass player), Jon Burden has instead a more classic blues vocal approach although still very deep and intense. He also showcases repeteadly his incredible talent as a guitarist too, no matter whether it's an acoustic guitar, a slide or an electric one.
The album's setlist is well balanced and alternates original material from the Canadian duo together with homages to giants of the blues like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters or Memphis Slim. Accompanied on stage only by Marvin Walker on drums and percussion, Hyatt and Burden open the show by offering a hot rendition of the 1953's Muddy Waters evergreen Blow Wind Blow, with a magnificent guitar solo from Burden.
This is a duo that has got so many layers of talent to unleash on each passing song. Holly Hyatt's vocals on Black Crow are absolutely sublime, while Burden's acoustic guitar sound flies effortlessly and beautifully through the walls of The Silverton Gallery. Get Your Own Man is a slightly uptempo blues tune with tinges of jazz, able to demonstrate once again the fabulous vocal skills of Holly Wyatt.
Let's Boogie has got a distinctive 60's vibe. It's a song where Hyatt's voice feels like the sweetest caress in the middle of the darkest night, with Burden's craftmanship on guitar in full swing.
The closing Slushy Blues amalgamates once again fragments of blues and jazz, with Burden, Hyatt and Walker interplaying very well with one another and capturing perfectly the artistic essence of the music style of the Canadian duo.
Hyatt's voice and Burden's guitar are a match made in heaven. Their music formula is simple and essential and that is the real secret behind the greatness of this album. Shufflin' The Blues is a record of timeless beauty that travels through the sounds of the 60's and the 70's blues with a more contemporary twist, something that cleverly links together different generations of music fans. A very inspired live performance.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato
Shufflin' The Blues is out now via Flood Plane Records and can be purchased via Holly Hyatt And Jon Burden's Website
"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"