Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Smooth, subtle, soulful & sophisticated, his is a beautiful and moving take on classic, coolly laidback acoustic blues." -Time Out
"Blindingly beautiful... One of the greatest 'new' talents to arise in blues music over the last couple of years." -Venue Magazine
"Eric Bibb’s last few studio efforts have proven he can deliver the goods when it comes to folk, blues, and soul music. And with Troubadour Live, we get a feel for his stage presence and versatility; all but one of the live cuts here also feature veteran Swedish guitarist Staffan Astner, and it’s obvious they are comfortable playing together. Bibb is a great storyteller, as is evident from the first cut, “The Cape,” a tale of hope and faith accompanied by Bibb’s fingerpicked acoustic. Astner joins for the country-blues boogie of “New Home.” Bibb’s husky vocal is accented by Astner’s thick fills, and he takes the song to a different place with a solo that burns. “Shavin’ Talk” has a lyric that resonates, fine acoustic from Bibb, and a punchy electric solo from Astner. The gospel group Psalm4 brings a pop/soul feel to “For You,” which also shows Bibb’s comfort level outside the blues and proves Astner’s versatility. Bibb’s acoustic guitar is big and full, and his fingerpicking plays to the strengths of the songs. Astner has an amazing tone – clean, but hot. Coupled with his chops and knowledge, his work here practically serves as a tutorial on how to play electric guitar." -Vintage Guitar Magazine
Down Beat (p.51) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The sage deliberation of his singing and his delicate, beguiling touch on acoustic guitar, evidenced on fine new and old songs, would be enough to recommend the album, but further appeal comes from the presence of Staffan Astner."
Living Blues (p.44) - "Sensitive-folkie offerings like 'For You' and 'Connected' reflect both deep feeling and finely honed craftsmanship....Both uplifting and musically satisfying."
Personnel: Eric Bibb (vocals, 6-string guitar, 12-string guitar, baritone guitar); Staffan Astner (electric guitar).
Audio Mixers: Lennart Östlund; Magnus Ringström; Glen Scott.
Liner Note Author: Katalin.
Recording information: Katalin's, Stockholm, Sweden (12/09/2010); The Gastation (12/09/2010).
Photographers: Lotta Schwarz; Juhani Niiranen; Jonas Egehult.
Eric Bibb's version of the blues has always been patient and positive, and it serves as a reminder that the blues isn't necessarily always about despair, darkness, and ominous guitar riffs, but is also built on the concept of survival and moving forward, on the idea of getting through tough times and reaching brighter days. In Bibb's hands, the blues becomes sustaining, moving closer to the spiritual uplift of gospel, and the often shaky division between Saturday night blues and Sunday morning praise drops away with this man. Bibb isn't haunted by personal demons as much as he is by cultural ones. He doesn't have a hellhound on his trail, and he isn't about to go down to the crossroads and make deals with the Devil. His 21st century version of the folk-blues isn't about that kind of stuff. It's about healing. A voice of temperate reason and unyielding hope in the dawning of better days is welcome in any musical style and in any era, and Bibb continues down that path with his latest release, Troubadour Live, recorded at a December 9, 2010 concert in Stockholm, Sweden, and featuring guest electric guitarist Staffan Astner. Astner's astounding tone and sharp efficiency on guitar dovetails neatly with Bibb's own accomplished and full-sounding acoustic guitar playing, and it's obvious that the two guitarists enjoy working together. There's an intimate feel to this set, which illustrates Bibb's presence and vitality as a live performer. Highlights include the majestic opener "The Cape," a Guy Clark/Susanna Clark/Jim Janosky composition, the country blues boogie shuffle "New Home" (complete with an absolutely burning guitar lead from Astner), and the pop soul of "For You," which features the gospel trio Psalm4 (Glen Scott, Andre De Lange, and Paris Renita), and shows that Bibb is quite comfortable outside of the blues medium. As an added bonus, a couple of studio tracks ("Put Your Love First," a duet with Troy Cassar-Daley, and "If You Were Not My Woman") are tacked on at the end of this charming, pleasant, and wonderfully intimate live album. ~ Steve Leggett
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