Barry Levenson has walked, or rather played more than a few miles beside some of the true giants of blues music, from Pee Wee Crayton to Big Mama Thornton, his blues credentials are top notch. Don’t let his pedigree fool you though, Barry has no problem adapting his sound to any style you desire, often on the same album. His latest, The Visit finds him dancing between and intertwining blues and jazz at whim.
Not gifted with a traditional blues voice, Barry tends to stay instrumental on heavy blues tracks, like the album opener, ‘I Wonder Why’ opting instead to let his considerable talent on a six string speak for him. Don’t get me wrong, when Barry’s vocals melt into his unique jazz and blues hybrid songs, like ‘Ice Cold Kiss’ you are transported to a happier, if less familiar place.
Barry’s music brings more to the delta, the hint of a small square in Paris, where musicians do their best American lounge/jazz impression for tourists. It isn’t that the sound is inferior, it isn’t, but the influences of Europe, or at least parts of it, mark it as uniquely its own. Barry never falls into it full on, but rather gives you a hint of something you know, like catching the scent of a familiar perfume in a crowd, unmistakable but not exactly the same as it was on that long lost memory.
Barry has put together a solid album, one of the best blues albums this year and most importantly, it isn’t a cookie cutter blues album. The Visit expands in delightful directions as Barry leads you down the path with some of the best guitar playing around. Blues fans need to grab this one but pass on the beer and bourbon when you give it a listen, this album goes best with a fine bottle of wine. http://www.amazon.com/The-Visit-Barry-Levenson/dp/B00XENS9DK