CD Wandering Stranger [Digipak] (CD 1004005),
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Wandering Stranger [Digipak]

  • 1. Train Is Leaving
    2. Rex's Blues
    3. Wandering Stranger
    4. Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor
    5. Honey in the Rock
    6. Lonesome Road
    7. Darling
    8. Please Be Careful in New Orleans
    9. Happy Trails
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1017

  • Credits
    ProducerChris Coady; Chris Coady
    EngineerChris Coady; Chris Coady

    Entrance: Tommy Rouse (drums); Guy Blakeslee, Paz Lenchantin.
    Personnel: Guy Blakeslee (vocals, guitar); Paz Lenchantin (fiddle, piano).
    Recording information: Technician Secret Studios, New York, NY (01/2003-02/2003).
    Photographer: Paul Heartfield.
    Arranger: Entrance.
    One can only be grateful that the Delta blues has experienced yet another mutation since the dawn of the new millennium. In the 1990s, acts like the Flat Duo Jets, the Blues Explosion, 20 Miles, and a host of others used the Delta tradition in their brand of post-punk blues. But in the new century, bands like the Black Keys, Immortal Lee County Killers, Pearlene, and Guy Blakeslee's Entrance go deeper into the root. They ape the forms, evoke the ghostly spirit and feel of the tradition, and meld it together with a shambolic rock & roll intensity. Questions of authenticity mean nothing here. It's the spirit of the original music that's hotly and often raucously pursued and evoked. In Blakeslee's case, Wandering Stranger is drenched in the devil's music, from Charley Patton to John Hurt. Blakeslee has augmented the band this time with fiddler-pianist Paz Lenchantin and drummer Tommy Rowse so he can concentrate on playing guitar and singing -- no irritating one-man rhythms on this set. The music itself is a wild, wonderful approach to the Delta music in both original and traditional tunes -- with a killer mutant cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues" that would make the late songwriter proud. This is not simply revival music. Blakeslee's raw blues are tempered by wooly psychedelic textures as on the album's hinge piece, "Lonesome Road." Lenchantin's fiddle swirls above and through the mix, never quite squealing, but winding and whining against the guitars. The guitar plods and a subtle, constant, basic, yet unobtrusive rhythm moves the snaky tune forward in a labyrinthine fashion until it reaches catharsis. Blakeslee's voice is a moaning, warbling lonely spirit. It has plenty of expression for its thin grainy tone. In the liners, Blakeslee thanks Blind Willie McTell and Uncle Dave Macon for the traditional "Darlin'," which for nearly ten minutes is a hypnotic acoustic blues that becomes a mutant sonic freak-out. It's not hyperbole either, as he sticks close to the intent and feel of the song almost all the way through. The two closing tracks, "Please Be Careful in New Orleans" and "Happy Trails" (not the cowboy tune), are wig-outs, full of wrangled, faltering guitars and slippery rhythms that channel the history of the Delta blues into some nocturnal present-day swamp music. Wandering Stranger is a provocative, utterly compelling outing that is as confusing and sexy as it is savagely beautiful. ~ Thom Jurek

  • Critic Reviews
    Uncut (p.83) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Blakeslee's hypnotic extrapolations of Delta blues are raggedy and intuitive as well as technically impressive..."
    Magnet (p.95) - "Throughout, blues repetition adds nuance to simple themes, creating drama with a minimalist's tool kit of guitar, piano, fiddle and percussion....Blakeslee still kicks up a stylishly dark and addictive atmosphere."
    The Wire (p.68) - "Entrance build formidable narratives out of basic structures, allowing little more than the simple twang of his guitar and the reverberating power of his voice to deliver and then reiterate the message to often dramatic effect..."
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