4 years since their last release, and celebrating the 20th anniversary of their collaboration, Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart return with Dedication. True to form it harnesses their joint harmonies, whilst also taking a step away from other albums to showcase each of their voices separately. With more of a piano focus than before, the album is a reflective offering, which sometimes hints at fiction whilst also delivering an overwhelming sense of loss.Nowhere is this more apparent than on The Flag, with Stacey almost speaking over a picked guitar rhythm as she recounts the story of a son from childhood, through to his loss at war; a heartbreaking number which speaks of real pain. Meanwhile, Mark’s lead vocals on the follow up track Broken Heart For Two seems to speak back to Stacey’s sense of pain, and as he sings out ‘the world needs a change/war rages on/a child needs a father/now you are gone’ the comparisons become more prominent.
Pat Travers is one of the most prolific guitar players of this generation. In his 40-year career, he has released dozens of records across many genres, and has been a Top 20 and Top 40 charter.This album is a collection of historic, classic blues songs that date back to the early 1900s, according to the announcement While the record boasts a full, classic rock production and guitar-heavy interpretations, Pat says with reverence to the source material, “there’s no way to hide under technology.” The emotion of story-telling through lyric and strings comes through in tracks like the heavy melodic opener “Black Dog Blues” by Blind Blake, Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and Jimmy Cox’s lament “Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out.” Son House’s stark and bleak “Death Letter” is a one-take stunner. Bessie Smith, Tampa Red, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and more are also honored on BLUES ON FIRE.