Following on from his 2014 debut Sugar Brown’s Sad Day and 2015’s acclaimed Poor Lazarus, the new record mines the various strata of the blues genre, digging deep and unearthing dazzling new gems. Brown possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the form, but his songs are passionate, singular, and soulful, constantly resisting generic, mainstream formulations.
He explains his free-wheeling and idiosyncratic style this way: “Each song here is a blues world. They go from country to urban, from the ’30s to ’70s, but they are little worlds within the blues. “My last name, Kawashima, means river-island in Japanese. You can think of each song as an island in a river. You can flow down the river, stopping and listening to one, then moving onto the next.” The voyage is a richly compelling and entertaining one.
It’s A Blues World was recorded at Toronto studio Marquee Sound, with engineer Braden Sauder. Situated in an old movie theatre, the studio focuses on analog recording, Sugar Brown’s preferred form. “We recorded on two tracks, to quarter inch tape,” he explains. “I brought in one piece of recording gear, a 1936 Collins mike pre-amp, and plugged in my vocal microphone through that.” “By using the technologies of older recording, I want to give the listener a different sonic listening experience than what we have come to blindly accept in digital recording. That is part of the experience of a Sugar Brown album.”
It’s A Blues World has a rich, warm and intimate sound that is the perfect setting for Brown’s original compositions. The mastering work of Grammy-winner Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes) is the icing on the cake of the recording.
Marty's review: On this latest release Sugar Brown takes the essence of blues roots and adds his own "flavorsome" touch that results in an album which embodies the blues with passion and honesty. At times sounding like pure vintage blues from an original master, the analog process of the recording brings out a uniqueness and poignancy that is rare in contemporary blues recordings. A very generous 13 tracks that are all original with a combination of acoustic and electric instrumentation that is well-rounded, tight and solid