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Arts & Culture

Blues Views: Billy Thompson's Remixed & Remastered


Artist: Billy Thompson
Release: Remixed & Remastered, Audio CD Blind Pig Records, 2010

This reviewer became a proponent of this left coast expatriate, now West Virginia  resident Billy Thompson, late in life. I missed his 1991 "Coat of Many Colors" release, but since 1994 I have been shouting his praises. The fervor runs more along the lines of “say it loud, I'm blue and I'm proud!”

Thompson's releases represent one-stop contemporary blues shopping. With certainty, that's not to suggest this is artistically economic. Anything but. It represents a single indigo pitstop from a standpoint of all the blues influences that are implied from a disc of this emotional volume. Part of the magic, and it's not illusionary, stems from Thompson’s ability to transform the human experience into such wretching, but fluid, blues hues.

Likewise it is not a foreign feeling to find yourself listening to and identifying with a cut  maintaining the spiritual depth of '"Do Right Boy.” In fact you don't have to limit the universality of this master of melisma to any one cut. For any matter it is this artist's self documented life experiences that create a major theme throughout his releases. A brilliant study of contrasts, of life's self employed system of denial and reward, darkness and light, tension and release, the dynamics are so dominant. The temptation is not to write about his level of instrumental expertise, but to throw time honored traditions to the wind and immerse yourself in his depth of expression.

None the less, Thompson's instrumental stewardship puts him in the company of Jimi Hendrix and the brilliant, incomparable and ethereal Sonny Landreth. Both artists are true to the universality that the essence of music imbues.  In this writer’s opinion, both Thompson and Landreth share this sacred space, and deserve all true believers to sit up and listen to the tales these enlightened musicians want to share with us.

Check out Billy Thompson at www.billythompsonmusic.com