Colin Linden and Luther Dickinson pair their roots guitar talents for ''Amour''. The album was produced by Linden, recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and features a backing band dubbed The Tennessee Valentines of Dominic Davis ( bass), Bryan Owings (drum), Fats Kaplin (violin and accordion), and Kevin McKendree (keyboards).
Linden and Dickinson recruited a host of Nashville talent as guest vocalists on the new disc, including the legendary Billy Swan, who sings lead on ''Lover Please'', a song he wrote, which was recorded and became a classic hit for Clyde McPhatter, as well as songbirds Rachael Davis and Ruby Amanfu, plus two of Linden's Nashville TV series buddies - Sam Palladio (''Crazy Arms'') and Jonathan Jackson (''I Forgot to Remember to Forget'').
''These are songs of sentimental, romantic love,'' says Colin Linden. ''They come from country (''Crazy Arms''), blues (''Honest I Do''), rock 'n' roll (''Lover Please''), rhythm and blues (''What Am I Living For''), and folk music (''Careless Love''). I think that is a pretty good read on what Americana really is. ''Careless Love'' is the ID of the record a traditional song of love, longing and regret. I view the entire album as a soundtrack for romance and romantics everywhere, bound together by melody and atmosphere.''
Amour is the first collaboration between Colin Linden (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, TV show Nashville) and Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes) and consists of classic love songs from the Americana world. Both Linden and Dickinson are true veterans of roots music, having played with and produced some of the biggest names in the business, while displaying the mantle of countless awards and accolades to reflect that.
Colin Linden And Luther Dickinson Bring New Sounds To Familiar Songs On ''Amour''
Some musical combinations are so good, you wonder why they didn't happen before they did. This is the case with Colin Linden and Luther Dickinson who got together to record Amour. Colin Linden was mentored by Howlin' Wolf and is part of the hit show Nashville. Luther Dickinson founded North Mississippi Allstars with his brother. Amour is proof that these two artists should work together more often.
One of the tunes is a cover of Jimmy Reed's ''Honest I Do.'' Reed was known for his clean guitar sounds. This version features some distorted guitar that gives it a lowdown sound. Dominic Davis (bass) and Bryan Owings (drums) provide a rhythm that is great for slow dancing while Rachael Davis lays down some smooth and soulful vocals. This is a different beast than the original, but that's not a bad thing.
Another good slow-dancing song on the album is ''For the Good Times'' (originally by Al Green). The instrumentation is pretty spare, and Owings lays down a slow drum part that is the backbone of the song. The breathy quality of Ruby Amanfu's vocals brings Macy Gray to mind while Kevin McKendree provides a soulful (almost gospel) feel with the organ part. Don t be surprised if you get chills listening to this one.
If you're going to cover a song, it's great if you can get the writer of the song to perform on it. That is the case with ''Lover Please.'' Billy Swan wrote the song and sings this version. As is the theme on this album, this is quite a bit different than the original. The biggest difference is the addition of a Cajun sound provided by Fats Kaplin on the accordion. It's hard not to notice just how clean the guitars are in this song. It's also pretty hard to sit still when you hear the accordion and the rhythm of the song.
Amour is an album filled with familiar songs performed in a very different way. It's part soul, part blues, and all good. Set aside some time where you can listen to this album with no distraction. Just pour yourself a beverage, sit back, and enjoy.
Gary Schwind --Americana Highways
Linden & Dickerson, both guitarists and undisputed masters of blues, roots and Americana, have performed with a virtual ''who's who'' in the music business. The subject of love takes many forms in blues and related styles, from love found to love gone wrong and more. Amour deals with the romantic side of the subject. When the idea of working together on the project was mentioned, both parties were eager to pursue the opportunity. The backing band, dubbed The Tennessee Valentines, consists of Dominic Davis on bass, Bryan Owings on drums, Fats Kaplin on violin and accordion, and Kevin McKendree on piano and organ. Supplying vocals on the album are Rachel Davis, Ruby Amanfu, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson and Billy Swan. From an instrumental standpoint, this disc is right on the money. The vocals are powerful, sensual and highly emotionally driven...exactly what the subject demands. Released just in time for Valentine's Day, this album kicks off with an acoustic rendition of ''Careless Love,'' a timeless classic that has taken many forms and has been recorded by countless artists. The tune is repeated later in the album, with vocals. Following that are Jesse Stone's ''Don't Let Go,'' Jimmy Reed's ''Honest I Do,'' and ''Crazy Arms,'' a hit for Ray Price, Patsy Cline and more. Next up, we have Kris Kristofferson's ''For The Good Times,'' Billy Swan's ''Lover Please'' (sung here by Swan) and ''What Am I living For,'' recorded by Chuck Willis and many others, ranging from Doc Watson to the Animals and the Rolling Stones. Finally, we have Bo Diddley's ''Dearest Darling'' and ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget,'' covered by everyone from Elvis to Johnny Cash and the Beatles. Start to finish, these are timeless tunes that have crossed all genre lines, essentially defining roots and Americana. If you are in the mood for something other than the standard blues fare, this might just do the trick. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it highly.