LIVE: Sonny Landreth @ Cohoes Music Hall, 10/24/18

Sonny Landreth

Review by Mark Alexander Hudson
Photographs by Rudy Lu

Make no mistake, Sonny Landreth is something of a wizard.

Granted, he may resemble a slightly hippyish college professor as portrayed by Alan Alda in an ’80s movie, but when he picks up his guitar magic ensues.

I’m no expert by any means, but his technique to me seems entirely original. His right hand employs both fingerstyle picking and hammer-ons, while his left handles chording and bottle neck slide.

At the same time.

What results is a most joyous sound, a gumbo of blurry blues, fatback rock and spicy zydeco.

Maybe that’s why no less than Eric Clapton described him as “one of the most advanced guitarists in the world, and one of the most under appreciated.” Those lucky enough to attend Landreth’s concert at the Cohoes Music Hall last month, saw this mastery in person.

He kicked off with a short acoustic set. “Imagine you’re on the porch down south in Louisiana, then we’ll amp it up a bit,” he said, smiling.

Dave Ranson on ukulele bass and Brian Brignac on cajon joined him on some tasty laid back blues workouts. After a short break the rhythm section returned on traditional bass and drums, and Landreth really let loose on his electric.

It has been my privilege in this past year to see and review two amazing guitarists play live in Greater Nippertown – Eric Johnson and Richard Thompson. Both have the uncanny ability to seamlessly play rhythm and lead guitar parts simultaneously, creating a full, almost orchestral, swathe of notes.

Add a third.

Landreth thundered through a dynamic set, combining his blues roots with more out-there offerings, the instrumental “Brave New Girl” sounding as if Frank Zappa had wandered onto the bayou.

Landreth’s vocals are as pleasant and relaxed as the man himself, with hints of Tom Petty’s laconic drawl and Bruce Hornsby’s high, lonesome tenor.

But the guitar playing – simply sensational.

Catch him, and laissez les bon temps rouler.

Key to the Highway
Blues Attack
Hell at Home
Creole Angel
Walkin’ Blues
A World away
Firebird Blues
All About You
Soul Salvation
Brave New Girl
The USS Zydecoldsmobile
It Hurts Me Too
Back to Bayou Teche

Sonny Landreth, Brian Brignac and Dave Ranson
Sonny Landreth and Dave Ranson
Sonny Landreth, Brian Brignac and Dave Ranson
Sonny Landreth and Brian Brignac
Waterloo Clyde
Waterloo Clyde

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