Eric Bibb Deeper In The Well (2012)

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Eric Bibb — Deeper In The Well
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Birth name: Eric Bibb
Born: 16 August 1951, New York City, New York, U.S
Album release: March 27, 2012
Record Label: Stony Plain Music
01 – Bayou Belle
02 – Dig a Little in the Well
03 – No Further
04 – Sinner Man
05 – Boll Weevil
06 – In My Time
07 – Every Wind In The River
08 – Sittin’ In a Hotel Room
09 – Could Be You, Could Be Me
10 – Money In Your Pocket
11 – Music
12 – The Times They Are A Changin’
13 – Movin’Up
Luna Records:
Editorial Reviews:
Eric Bibb's Deeper in the Well is a unique combination of traditional and contemporary Louisiana music. Acclaimed folk blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Bibb is backed by an all-star Louisiana band including multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, guitarist Cedric Watson, drummer Danny Devillier and harmonica player Grant Dermody. Special guests include Michael Jerome Browne, Jerry Douglas and Christine Balfa. Eric Bibb is one of the highest profile roots musicians, having been nominated for multiple Blues Music Awards and a Grammy.
BBC Review:
Deceptively powerful stuff from the well-travelled bluesman.
Sid Smith 2012-02-23
Eric Bibb is undoubtedly one of the busiest musicians on the scene, but as Sittin’ in a Hotel Room makes abundantly clear, you’ll hear no complaints from him about an itinerant life on the road. Whilst some road songs describe the collateral damage and ennui resulting from such occupational transience, Bibb celebrates a beatific moment wherein the singer and guitarist can’t believe how lucky he is. Yes, you read right: a bluesman woke up this morning and was happy.
With a discography stretching back to the early 1970s, Bibb brings a wealth of telling experience to bear when he performs a song. With a voice that’s rich and languid, he’s a seasoned pro who understands that you don’t have to resort to demonstrative wailing or tired cliché in order to make a point stick or resonate. Although keeping things simple has been very much his main way of doing business for some time, there’s no shortage of elegant technique in his work. In the end the success of Deeper in the Well is all down to his command of intricate details.
Always understated, on this album he allows a subtle Creole flavour to permeate much of the material through some wonderfully yearning fiddle from Cedric Watson. Along with several other guests – including fiddle/banjo player Dirk Powell, with whom Bibb collaborated with on the Transatlantic Sessions – we are privileged to witness an exquisite masterclass in how to do a lot while appearing to do very little.
The slo-mo rendition of Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ conjures a commentary on present-day financial uncertainty that’s frighteningly prescient. Bibb doesn’t bang the table but reproachfully points to the warning signs littered in absurd bonuses and ever-yawning cultural divides. Similarly, Harrison Kennedy’s Could Be You, Could Be Me offers a quiet yet intense indictment of a system that demands the weak go to the wall so that the strong can have it all. It’s deceptively powerful stuff.
Eric Bibb, already enjoying success in Europe, is becoming a familiar face – and voice – in the U.S. acoustic folk-blues scene. His unique talent continues to draw critical acclaim around the world. Twice nominated for the W.C. Handy Awards and winner of the “Best Newcomer” title in the British Blues Awards, Bibb has been appropriately described as “discreetly awesome” and “a total original.” As his popularity escalates, earlier comparisons to legendary greats Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal are being replaced by quotes that speak to Bibb’s ability to “use standard blues ingredients to cook up something all his own.”
Born in 1951, Bibb is a native New Yorker with deep roots in the American blues and folk tradition. He is the son of 1960s folk and musical theater singer and television personality Leon Bibb. His uncle was the world-famous jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. His godfather was singer/actor/activist Paul Robeson. Surrounded by major musical figures of the day, young Eric was inspired and influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Earl Robinson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and many others.
Bibb got his first steel stringed guitar when he was seven. By the time he was in junior high school, he was consumed by music. When Bibb was 16, his father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his television show, Someone New. In later years, Bibb played guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969 at St. Mark’s Place in New York City. He left for Paris at age 19, where he played in restaurants, then headed to Sweden, where he settled in the ‘70s. He returned to New York in the 1980s for a brief five-year stay, where he continued to write and opened for headliners such as The Persuasions, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Tania Maria and Etta James.
Bibb’s first signing was to BMG/Sweden as a writer in the early ‘80s. He later signed to the independent Swedish label Opus 3, where he produced several albums. Two of these, Spirit & The Blues and Good Stuff, were later released in the U.S., which helped to expand Bibb’s international audience. Bibb appeared at the London Blues Festival in 1996, and has toured the world many times since, appearing at festival and club dates in the U.S., Canada, UK and Europe.
A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience, both musically and spiritually. His music, like his personality, is intimate, assured and passionate, drawing listeners into the moment more as participants than as spectators. His rich and sensitive vocals and lyrics provide a perfect balance to his fine fingerpicking technique. Purveying a beautifully realized and deftly accomplished soulful and gospel-infused folk-blues, Bibb has no problem blending various genres effortlessly, melding a traditional rootsy American style with a subtle, contemporary sensibility. As one critic wrote, “Eric’s singing and versatile guitar playing fuses a variety of genes to become a New World Blues.”
Bibb joined Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group, in 2004 as one-third of Sisters & Brothers, a gospel-flavored blues collaboration that also featured musical soulmates Rory Block and Maria Muldaur. Later that same year, he recorded Friends, a solo effort with guest appearances by several longtime friends and collaborators, including Taj Mahal, Odetta, Guy Davis and Charlie Musselwhite.
In September 2005, Bibb released A Ship Called Love, a 14-track tapestry of blues, folk and balladry. He followed up with the release of Diamond Days (September 2006 in the UK, January 2007 in the U.S.) and Get Onboard (2008), a 12-track set that featured guest appearances by guitarist/songwriter Bonnie Raitt and blues/folk/gospel singer Ruthie Foster.
Bibb’s latest effort on Telarc, Booker’s Guitar, was inspired by the discovery of a 1930s vintage Resophonic National steel-body guitar that had belonged to Delta blues legend Booker White – an older cousin to B.B. King. The encounter inspired the album’s half-spoken, half-sung title track, which Bibb recorded in England using White’s guitar. The remaining tracks, although recorded in rural Ohio on Bibb’s own guitars, sprang from the same well of inspiration.
“Once I had written that song, I really wanted to make a complete statement and document my connection to the Delta blues tradition,” says Bibb. “I really wanted to put myself in the position of my heroes, but in a contemporary context, and create songs that I feel could have been part of their repertoire and could have come from their own experience.”
Bibb has received a Grammy nomination for Shakin' a Tailfeather. He has been nominated for several W.C. Handy Awards. Nominated Acoustic Blues Album of the Year for Spirit and the Blues in 2000; for Home to Me in 2001; for Natural Light in 2004; for A Ship Called Love in 2006. Nominated Acoustic Blues-Artist of the Year in 2002; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2008.
C’est en Louisiane, un lieu mythique où les styles anciens perdurent et où s'épanouissent toujours de nouvelles sonorités, qu’Eric Bibb a choisi d’enregistrer « Deeper In The Well », un album inspiré dans lequel fusionnent le blues, l’americana et le cajun. Eric s’est entouré de musiciens louisianais d’exception et a même invité le légendaire Jerry Douglas (N° 1 du dobro aux USA) à apporter sa pierre à l’édifice commun. Le résultat est magique. Certainement l’un des albums majeurs d’Eric Bibb.
"Ainsi rassemblés dans le superbe climat du bayou, nous sept, frères de diverses couleurs, sommes venus enregistrer cette célébration de notre héritage culturel commun : « Deeper In The Well »."
Eric Bibb  // 

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© Photo credit: Michel Verlinden (2006)

Eric Bibb Deeper In The Well (2012)