Fire In The Mind
Ruf Records/Yellow Eye
On Bob Brozman’s 25th album we hear all of the things we have come to expect – a range of stringed instruments and a range of approaches to the blues – and yet he never (ever) feels like he’s repeating himself. On the opening instrumental tracks he updates Ry Cooder’s soundtrack work and then a ragtime Woody Allen feel gets a power workout. From there it’s to songs of experience rather than innocence (American House Fire Blues) which fans of the most recent Ry Cooder albums will want to check out.
Brozman’s blues comes from an ethnomusicologist, a restless musical spirit, a passionate player, equal parts Cooder, Richard Thompson, Ali Farke Toure and Peter Green.
His sound goes beyond those players – on Strange Mind Blues you feel, at any point, that John Hiatt’s voice might enter, when Brozman sings he trades on that sound to a degree but he always invests so much of himself in each vocal performance.
That’s the beautiful thing about this record, as with other’s in Brozman’s fine catalogue; it’s a combination of phenomenal technique and talent, passion, energy, soul and intellect. And where Cooder, for all of his magic, can be a little heavy on the axe-grinding these days, Brozman seems more about preserving and presenting the blues as concept, as pedigree, as philosophy and sonic.
Fire In The Mind is so full of heart and soul, so full of strong performances and great tunes.