Mike Munson – Rose Hill
Format: CD / Label: Blue Front Records
Releasedatum: 16 augustus 2018
Tekst: Iain Patience
This is a new artist and a new label both with strong connections to bluesman Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes and his family-run downtown café-bar-juke joint in Bentonia Mississippi. Mike Munson has released a few self-produced indie efforts in recent years but ‘Rose Hill’ marks a change with a new US blues label and an optimistic purpose that shines thought each successive track.
Munson favours acoustic guitar mostly, with some enjoyable and understated slide-work also thrown into the mix. His own approach is clearly influenced by the likes of Skip James and Jack Owens, both pioneers of the style now largely labelled, ‘Bentonia Blues,’ a type of picking that leans heavily on tradition but sparked-up by haunting, eerily redolent minor tunings. This is the style favoured by Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes himself, who guests here on one track, and which pretty much owes its origins to Holmes’s family business, the renowned Blue Front Café in Bentonia where the album was recorded.
Munson includes covers of a few blues standards including Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning, Bukka White’s Shake ‘Em On Down and perhaps most fittingly Jack Owens’ Jack Ain’t Had No Water, a song and late player-writer who also helped create the Bentonia sound way back. At other times, Munson hits an instrumental note with picking that holds clear echoes of Charlie Parr, an evident influence with his strikingly original fretwork and always near-unique style of attack.
Overall, this eleven track release holds much to recommend it and also rings with the promise of more to come from someone worth discovering and looking out for.
01. Rotgut Devil
02. Jack Can’t Hold No Water
04. Illinois Blues
05. Rose Hill
06. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning
07. Broke & Hungry
08. Good as Good May Be
10, Shake Em On Down
11. Big Black
Website: Mike Munson