[14 January 2009]
Guitarist Danny Kalb is best known as a former founder of the ‘60s band, Blues Project. The group famously combined traditional acoustic and electric blues together in experimental ways with long jams and Eastern influenced solos. Kalb also backed up folk luminaries like Phil Ochs, Judy Collins and Dave Van Ronk on some of their best known recordings and later recorded with folk blues virtuoso Stefan Grossman. During the recent past, Kalb has been self-releasing solo live performance discs. This latest one, on the Sojourn label, features Kalb in the studio playing a baker’s dozen of mostly classic acoustic numbers (such as “Samson and Delilah”, “Shake Sugaree”, and “Baby Please Don’t Go”). Kalb’s instrumental performance is consistently top notch. He makes that guitar sing, wail, plead, and cry. He carefully annunciates the lyrics so that their full meanings clearly come through for full effect. Kalb understands the dance between the words and the strings that give the acoustic music power to knock the listener out without the need for volume. He projects the blues by carefully attending to its meanings and nuances.