A fascinating album in the Blues/Americana genre but somehow not even close to it.
This album is a compilation of singles he has released over the last few years, re-recorded with different orchestration, as well as a new number – the title track. He has included a version of Bill Withers ‘Ain’t N Sunshine (when she’s gone)’ but otherwise it is all his own work.
Fred has a slightly thin and whispery voice and a gentle guitar style. He has been in India for 17 years, returning in 2018, which may have something to do with his approach, but it is a pleasure to listen to some acoustic Blues.
For me, the standout track is ‘Shelter From The Storm’, on paper a Blues/rock number but with his emphasis on the lyrics it is hardly a rocker. A salutary tale of these days of Climate Change as seen through the eyes of a field hand watching the storm approaching. Terrific slide guitar and deeply felt singing and playing.
I also particularly enjoyed his song for Walter Trout, ‘I’m A New Man’ - "I'm a New Man was inspired by the great contemporary blues guitarist and artist Walter Trout. Blue By Nature and Walter were similar in approach to live performance and blues. I admired his authentic singing and playing. He played regularly at Perqs in Huntington Beach, California, as did we. While living in India I learned that he almost died, but blues lovers, the blues community, and fans had come together to help him get the medical treatment he needed to save his life. After learning this I contacted him. Walter told me about a song he likes that Karen Lawrence and I wrote with Jeff Beck called 'Back on the Streets'. He wanted a song like that, so I sat down and ‘I’m a New Man’ is what it appeared. My humble thanks to these great performers and guitarists. Both Beck and Trout are legends."