Personnel: Lucky Peterson (vocals, guitar, dobro, piano); Kelyn Crapp (guitar); Jonathan Fisher (acoustic bass); Jamil Byrum (drums).
Liner Note Author: John Stedman.
Recording information: Palmyra Recording Studio, Palmer, Texas.
Photographer: Antonio Gomez Garcia.
As an instrumentalist who had a thriving career at the age of six, Lucky Peterson is one of the most accomplished blues artists of his generation. Now that he's all of 51, he's a talent to be reckoned with on the guitar, piano, and organ, and he's a solid singer, too. Peterson shows off his multiple abilities on 2016's Long Nights, a set recorded live in the studio, with Lucky adding extra piano and guitar licks after the fact. Lucky and his band kick up some dust on several selections, but much of Long Nights is dominated by laid-back late-night grooves. Imagine Lucky and his combo are jamming for their own entertainment after the last set of the night, and you'll get an idea of how this music feels. In this case, the easy but determined sound of Lucky and co. works for these songs. Peterson is in no way short on intensity as a vocalist here, and his guitar, Dobro, and piano work are just as powerful and even more precise. Bassist Jonathan Fisher and drummer Jamil Byrum are supportive, keeping the performances locked in place while giving the band's leader plenty of room to move. Long Night is something of a family affair in terms of songwriting; Lucky's wife Tamara Peterson wrote or co-wrote eight of the eleven tracks, while he penned the other three. Some of the tunes seem a bit dated, especially when "Six O'Clock Blues" invokes the name of Walter Cronkite. But there's a lot of low-key fire on Long Nights, and Peterson's taut instrumental work and impassioned vocals deliver even when the songs are on the quiet side. This is yet another inspired session from one of the best and most prolific modern-day blues artists, and its simmering heat cooks effectively. ~ Mark Deming
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