There are times when you put a record on and, within minutes, you immediately fall in love with it. The love then grows as the tracks run through the Hi-Fi and you find yourself in an uplifted spirit, grateful to the art of music to allow you to receive a bucket of emotions in one, big, intense shot.
These are the feeling that Yours Truly felt by listening to a record that has come out some time ago last year in 2016 called Rain, by one of the most eclectic and talented group of musicians around, Lew Jetton & 61 South.
Robert Lewis Jetton is one of those people that you don't really know whether to envy because of the bags of skills he owns as a singer, songwriter and guitarist or just love unconditionally because in front of such craftsmanship, you just have to bow and enjoy the music.
Rain is a record that brings together the cream of American blues musicians. In this incendiary fusion of Blues, Cajun, R&B and Southern Rock, together with Jetton and the 61 South, (one of the most robust Rhythm Section in the business), the band's front-man called some of his close fellow friends, authentic aces players like J. Solon Smith on piano, J.D. Wilkes on Harmonica, Dan Bell on Organ and Miranda Louise as Guest Vocalist, among others.
The outcome is one of the most entertaining, well-played and executed records you can ever listen to. Lew Jetton has penned all the songs of the album, apart of the closing Allen Toussaint's classic It's Raining and his star shines really bright on this record. What amazes, especially about Jetton's vocals, it's his unique ability to flex his singing style with incredible simplicity with outstanding results.
From a musical point of view, Jetton & 61 South showcase a remarkable understanding about music and, despite the diverse styles played by the collective, every song fits with the others like a perfect sonic mosaic. The balance of different music tempos is placed to perfection on the album, no matter whether it's a foot-stomping Country-Gospel tune (Glory Train), a 70's Southern-Rock-Turning-Psychedelic track like Mississippi Rain or a classic Chicago Blues like Sandy Lee.
Even when Jetton & 61 South slow down the music pace, the results are equally fabulous. Feels Like Rain is a soft, melancholic tune that might as well have been written while sitting on a porch, watching the rain coming down. A slow Western-Blues full of intensity and skilfully crafted by Jetton and his band.
Toussaint's It's Raining, the closing track of the album, is notoriously a very challenging song to sing, unless you are armed with such a fantastic voice like Jetton's. His vocal delivery of this tune, helped just by Solon Smith's piano is absolutely breathtaking and frankly, one of the best cover versions of any songs heard for a long time.
Hats off to Lew Jetton & 61 South. Rain is like a flower that brings joy and love for life every time its artistic petals unfold, creating new natural symmetries. Most of all, it's a record that deserves enormous attention and the highest respect, both by music lovers and critics, because it's the pinnacle of the career of one of the most inspired, creative and talented music collective of the last two decades.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato
Rain is out now and it is available via Amazon
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