Album Review

Cox, Doug & Salil Bhatt W/ Ramkumar Mishra – “Slide to Freedom ” – [Northern Blues Music]

Jawbone   12/19/2007   A Library, CD

Recorded in the hayloft of a barn on the Canadian prairie on a summer’s day by three Indian musicians and a Canadian dobro player, “Slide to Freedom” is an odd mix of Indian classical music and Mississippi delta blues. Three tracks (1, 4 & 7) include vocals (two being Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Willie Johnson standards and one Doug Cox original), five tracks are instrumentals in the Indian classical vein.

Doug Cox plays slide resophonic guitar on this release. Salil Bhatt and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt play satvik veena and mohan veena, respectively. These instruments were invented by their players, but have become established enough to be added to the list of Indian classical instruments. Each resembles an archtop hollow bodied guitar with f-holes, but have 19 strings total (3 melody, 4 drone and 12 sympathetic, give or take).

Just like the breeze on the summer day when it was created, the music floats light as air, waving by like the amber wheat on the wind. The playing is excellent. The Bhatts (father and son) are stunning musicians and Cox does his best to keep up. They’re backed tastefully by Ramkumar Mishra on tabla.


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