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Hank Shizzoe - Songsmith (2014) Lossless
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Hank Shizzoe - Songsmith (2014) Lossless

21-05-2014, 19:15
Blues | Folk | Rock | FLAC / APE

Hank Shizzoe - Songsmith (2014) Lossless

Artist: Hank Shizzoe
Title Of Album: Songsmith
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Blue Rose Records
Genre: Blues, Folk, Rock
Quality: FLAC
Total Time: 41:07 min
Total Size: 224 MB


01. Rocket Ship (6:53)
02. He Is Not (3:26)
03. I Talk Too Much (2:19)
04. Light Up (2:34)
05. Like It's 1929 (3:48)
06. Songsmith (3:22)
07. The Ghost Of Pain (3:50)
08. Itune (Song For Jony) (2:22)
09. Planned Obsolescence (3:03)
10. Thanks To You (3:02)
11. Where I Come From (3:21)
12. I Sing (2:49)

More than four years after his last studio album Breather, Switzerland's outstanding blues & roots musician and Blue Rose artist HANK SHIZZOE finally presents his new album. There was good reason for this unusually long hiatus - for over two years Hank was a band member of Stephan Eicher, an international top star who fills large arenas and stadiums in France and Switzerland, reaches the top of the charts with every release and sells six or seven-digit figures of his albums. Shizzoe was not only Eicher's guitarist, their long-time collaboration proved fruitful for both parties. They wrote songs and developed ideas together and started collaborating in the studio. The result is Songsmith: A courageous opus magnum that breaks rules and crosses boundaries by being eclectic - it'll certainly be something to talk about in roots and open-minded music circles.

Hank Shizzoe has been one of the big names on the highest international level in terms of blues power, roots rock expertise and slide guitar craziness for two decades now. He has performed together with Sonny Landreth, Ali Farka Touré und David Lindley, has opened for Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, Bo Diddley and Charlie Musselwhite, is a part-time actor, music producer and always open to new ideas and projects. After six excellent releases on the internationally renowned blues label CrossCut Records, the man from Berne/Switzerland born as Thomas Erb, debuted on Blue Rose in 2007 with Headlines. This marked a move from the blues to the farther-reaching world of Americana with innovative songwriting and swampy Southern rock. Between two live releases in 2009 and 2011, Blue Rose released Breather - and now Songsmith.

The album's twelve tracks draw their intensity and tension from the friendly, respectful connection between Shizzoe and Eicher. The multi-lingual Swiss superstar who was successful in the late-Eighties with Grauzone in the popular German New Wave movement (NDW), experimented later on with rock, chanson, electronic, blues and folk and created his own highly successful amalgam thereof. Eicher produced the album, co-wrote eight of the songs and played guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion in addition to singing backing vocals and acting as "sound designer". Two musicians from his stable, soundtrack composer & keyboarder Reyn Ouwehand and Simon Baumann, an experienced Swiss drummer with a knack for electronica, also participated in the sessions. Hank Shizzoe, of course, is the primus inter pares with his prowess on many instruments (all kinds of acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel, ukulele, bouzouki, bass, piano, percussion) and his one-of-a-kind scratchy baritone voice. And, obviously, with his songwriting. The album title Songsmith was deliberately chosen, Shizzoe is extremely proud of this collection - rightfully so!

The album starts off with a bang: opener ‚Rocket Ship' is a dangerous brew of sci-fi/voodoo/swamp sounds with acoustic & electric slide guitars snaking around a riff and a stomping, electronic-fueled beat. It's followed by 'He Is Not', a thoughtful piano ballad with sparse acoustic guitar. 'I Talk Too Much' combines talk-singing with swelling keyboards and a beeping synthie backdrop. 'Light Up' is a beautiful chanson/folk ballad with acoustic guitars, bouzouki, lap steel - in duet with Shirley Grimes, an Irish singer-songwriter living in Berne (she already guested on Breather). 'Like In 1929' brings Tom Waits to mind with its bizarre cabaret/1920s party music backdrop and sarcastic lyrics that link 1929's Black Friday with today's economic crisis. In the album's center we find the title track 'Songsmith', a de-celerated songwriting blueprint, developing from a slow-mo atmosphere into playful guitar sounds. 'The Ghost Of Pain' presents a desert scenario like a Calexico-inspired road movie with twangy licks, weeping steel guitar and a Western touch to Shizzoe's sonorous voice. 'iTune (Song for Jony)' starts out as a ukulele miniature but moves into a deceptively happy singalong with built-in loops from the Eicher soundscape. 'Planned Obsolescence' is a melodic piece of roots pop with swinging drums, space sounds in the background and a rock'n'rolling lead guitar. 'Thanks To You' starts out reminiscent of Johnny Cash's American Recordings with acoustic guitar and a voiceover before keyboards and layers of guitars develop a lusher, levitating atmosphere. It is juxtaposed with a one-riff roots & blues rocker, 'Where I Come From' featuring Baptiste Gemser (from Eicher's band) on bass and Michael Fleury on trombone. 'I Sing' ends the album with music that could come from a silent movie or a circus, replete with furioso piano and organ.

In the end it's clearly Hank Shizzoe's most eclectic and diversified album so far: 12 songs and not one of them sounds like the other.

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