Ian Siegal is a treasure, a talented wordsmith with a keen eye for traditional blues styles as well as a skilled interpreter of classic blues music. The British Blues Awards Hall of Fame inductee and multiple award-winner isn’t afraid to work outside of his comfort zone, either, as evidenced by raw-boned albums like 2011’s The Skinny and 2013’s Candy Store Kid, both of which were recorded in Mississippi and produced by Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and featured guests like Luther Dickinson, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and others.
Siegal is unaccompanied on Man & Guitar, which documents an October 2013 solo performance by the bluesman at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, recorded (and, presumably, broadcast) by the BBC as part of the London Bluesfest. Man & Guitar is a lively, loving appreciation of blues music in all its glory, a mostly-original set of ten songs with a few tracks of between-song storytelling. Siegal evinces a natural charisma, and his joy in the performances is quite evident. Whether he’s growling like Howlin’ Wolf on the Delta-dirty “Mortal Coil Shuffle,” channeling Charlie Patton on the legend’s “Pony Blues,” or belting out an original like the powerful “Falling On Down Again,” Siegal imbues each performance with emotion, passion, sweat, and tears. One of the 21st century’s most talented bluesmen, Ian Siegal is entertaining, illuminating, and thought-provoking all at once. Grade: A (Nugene Records, released June 10, 2014)
Buy the CD from Amazon: Ian Siegal’s Man & Guitar