Home Read Albums Of The Week: Colin Linden | bLOW

Albums Of The Week: Colin Linden | bLOW

The Canadian singer-guitarist courts the U.S. with a batch of rugged, brawny blues.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:bLOW, the new album from blues singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Colin Linden, is the first release on Lucinda Williams’ imprint Highway 20 and embodies the powerful blues-meets-rock-meets-roots style Linden has crafted over his illustrious 45-year career, which set its course following a fateful meeting with Howlin’ Wolf at age 11.

“If I started to tell you all the people Colin Linden has played guitar with, you wouldn’t believe me,” said Williams. “With bLOW, Colin has made a record that will let everyone else in on the secret. Having him be the first artist on my Highway 20 Records feels like his coming0out party here in the U.S., and it’s better late than never.”

As a singer-guitarist, Linden has accompanied an incredible list of artists, including Bruce Cockburn (as his producer and touring musician), Bob Dylan, Gregg Allman, Rihannon Giddens, Pistol Annies, John Prine and many more. Linden is a member of Canadian supergroup Blackie And The Rodeo Kings and was a main contributor to the music for the Nashville TV show and subsequent live tours. Along the way, Linden played on over 500 albums and produced 140, winning his first Grammy in 2020 for producing Keb Mo’s Oklahoma, winner for Best Americana Album. He has also nabbed a staggering 25 Juno nominations and nine wins.

The seeds for bLOW were planted when Linden was commissioned for another television project. “I had been asked to come up with some Texas-Louisiana border music as stock music for a TV show. After coming up with and recording maybe 18 pieces of music, I came to feel that a number of them were songs just waiting to be finished, so when the air cleared and we were locked down, I let the music lead me to the words.” The result is a collection of raw, riveting tracks, rooted in the deep valleys of the genre, while feeling perfectly modern for today’s times.

The first single Until the Heat Leaves Town is a groove-heavy track that conjures up a traditional blues theme of a down-on-his-luck character whose time has ultimately run out. Linden shares the true story behind the smoking song: “Larry. Country blues legend. My hero. Playing music fed his soul. Side deals fed his family. He ran afoul of some unsympathetic folks on a deal. He was in need of a place to hide. Me and Dave. Hanging out, playing guitar. A warehouse by the Brooklyn Bridge. Larry showed up one night, breathless and shifty. He stayed a few days, vague on details, one eye on the door. One morning he was gone, like a puff of smoke. I pictured him walking away, dawn climbing up the side of Manhattan Island like a cool breeze.”

About Linden, acclaimed author Peter Guralnick (Searching for Robert Johnson, Last Train to Memphis) notes: “Colin always has something soulful to say. Howlin’ Wolf charged him with bringing everything he had to offer, all of his feeling and all of his humanity, to the music, and he has.”