Reviews

Real Blues Magazine
Victoria, BC
2004
SOLO  WTCD003

Yes, we are big fans of Mr. Pickett and with each and every new CD from the Canadian Blues harp legend, we become even more rabid supporters as Pickett continues to amaze everyone with even more unexpected talents and creative dimensions. Our first surprise was discovering Michael had an exceptional strong and natural voice after decades of being 'just the harp player in the band' (Whiskey Howl). Next it was his award winning songwriting abilities which permeated his first 2 CDs on Wooden Teeth. The man needs to be recognized as a world-class tunesmith and while he still blows fine harmonica (major understatement) he has now decided to become a solo guitar and harp playing Blues Troubador and he pulls off this new persona majestically. Something needs to be said regarding Pickett's transformation/growth simply because I'm hoping his courage, attitude and belief in himself will inspire others to go-for-it and make the most of their lives. Apparently Michael mastered the National guitar in a matter of a few months and to the point where he now gives guitar lessons and it has become his primary tool. After decades of band work Pickett now performs mainly as a solo bluesman. And, he's been building up a big fan base as he covers most of North Eastern North America and delivers terrific music to the starved masses. As we say, Blues is truth, and Pickett obviously feels strongly about his role as a purveyor of truth (particularly on the number "The Hood") and his knack for emotional eloquence is proven thanks to his heartfelt homage to his life partner "Louise' (yes, it's the perfect Blues name) Pickett is one of those rare Canadian performers who can claim to be an authentic and legitimate Blues star. There is no trace of self-consciousness, histrionics or imitation thanks to a Blues career that stretches back to at least 1967/68 and a long life in a city with a rich history and environment steeped in Blues and R&B. But, external factors play but a minimal role in the sound of Michael Pickett. What we really have here folks is an exceptionally sensitive and committed artist who has talents that are genuine but oh-so-rare. "Blues Is A Friend Of Mine" is probably more of a statement than most will realise and Pickett delivers it with heartfelt conviction. Some people were born to play the Blues and Michael Pickett is one. His star shines brighter each year and he may not know it but he and Mem Shannon have much in common given their mutual experiences as cab drivers and their recent return to what they do best. We need Blues performers (and music) of this calibre to set standards and examples but most of all "Solo" will give Michael Pickett a little bit more of what he deserves; respect and stature in the international Blues community. 5 bottles for another big step in the right direction. For those blues fans who savor serious talent this is definitely a disc to seek out and commune with.

Andy Grigg

 

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