Harrison Kennedy High Country Blues

After a long and successful stint with Detroit soul hit-makers Chairmen of the Board, this Hamilton homeboy took a long break from the music business. Thankfully, he has re-emerged, this time as a totally convincing blues-based singer and songwriter. 2003’s aptly entitled Sweet Taste earned him a Juno nomination but Kennedy remains a rather hidden treasure. Hopefully that will change with this compelling new disc. Harrison simply oozes honest soulfulness the way a current Chairman of the Board, Stephen Harper, radiates arrogant smugness. High Country Blues was laid down in just two days over the summer and there’s a fresh and spontaneous air to its sound. The accordion and keyboards of Keith Lindsay are a nice complement to Kennedy’s acoustic and slide guitar work. The absence of drums adds to the sitting-on-a-porch country blues feel, and there’s just enough variety to the material to keep things moving along nicely. "U Meant It” has a Cajun tinge, for instance, while Kennedy adopts a very convincing falsetto on "Don’t Set Your Mind To Worryin,” a 1:58 gem. The a cappella gospel closer "Gonna Be Alright” rounds out a lovely record in truly uplifting fashion. (Electro-Fi)