On his latest release, Turn Back On Your Radio, Richie Young delivers seven tracks of raw blues energy.
Fredericton has never been short on blues musicians. From those who find comfort in playing extended versions of Mustang Sally at family BBQs to those who took what the form could give them early on before heading off in search of new inspiration, we’ve seen it all. It’s a familiar cycle that plays out in cities from Memphis, Tennessee to St. John’s, Newfoundland.
And while this cycle is responsible for churning out some of the most lackluster music imaginable, it’s also the path and the very system that has inspired many of the most recognized names in Atlantic Canadian blues to take things further. For every four dozen attempts to mimic the authentic feel of Muddy Waters, the endearing growl of Howlin’ Wolf or the still-unparalleled tone of Hendrix for that matter, someone nearby comes close to tapping that vein and unlocking that holy trinity of tone, phrasing and honest to goodness suffering.
Richie Young comes closer to landing that sought-after combo with each new release. Like the Halletts and the Neilsens who came before him, Young has pulled the tools he needs and has paired them with his own natural ability as a performer, a writer and a musician.
On his forthcoming album, Turn Back On Your Radio, Young has stripped the music down to its foundations, taking a break from the electric tones that have defined much of his output to date. The result is an album that delivers a bare bones take on the blues of the 60s and 70s.
“I really took my time with this album and wanted to put something out there with just guitar, harp, and vocals,” said Young, who admits spending a lot of time listening to recordings from the 60s in the lead-up to writing this album.
“I listened to a lot of old folk and blues albums from the 60s, from back when the folk movement was huge,” he said.
This study is heavily reflected in the album’s seven tracks with Young’s harp providing admirable accompaniment to his voice and guitar. This simple combination works well throughout the recording’s five original compositions as well as Young’s own interpretations of the Dave Van Ronk classic, Hang Me Oh Hang Me, and 1920s blues standard, Ain’t Nobody’s Business.
Turn Back On Your Radio will be officially released February 28.