[27 January 2014]
For the first 6:17 of bluesman Toronzo Cannon’s latest full-length, it seems as if the veteran Chicago singer-guitarist has learned a whole new set of tricks. Opening track “John the Conquer Root”, from the album of the same name, is a heady mix of blistering Hendrix-esque guitar riffs and stomping rhythms, with Cannon reeling off molten licks one after the next. It’s a hell of a way to start the record, and easily the best song of the set, which quickly fall into a solid but not-terribly-surprising set of guitar-based electric blues. Nothing wrong with that, as Cannon shows his chops on feisty numbers like “Gentle Reminder” and the deep slow blues of “You Made Me This Way” to the acoustic duet “Let It Shine Always”. Cannon is one of the brightest lights in the blues firmament these days, and if the rest of the album doesn’t quite measure up to that killer opening, track, well, maybe he gift us a few more next time around. Besides, he plays a flying V (at least some of the time). What’s not to like?