Performing Songwriter Magazine
Volume 8, Issue 49 November 2000
Conversation With The Blues review
As a 30-year veteran of the Toronto blues scene, Michael Pickett has shared the stage with the likes of John Lee Hooker , Koko Taylor , and Muddy Waters . And small wonder. On this follow-up to Pickett's acclaimed 1998 CD, Blues Money (which was nominated for a Juno award), one senses the spirit of a man for whom the blues is a lifelong passion. Penning ten of the CD's 12 songs himself, Pickett draws from a broad range of sub-genres, including horn-fueled funk ( Big Train ) , gospel-tinged R&B ( When I Lay My Burden Down ), and Delta-flavored balladry ( Cecil & Spadina ).
Instrument-wise, Conversation With The Blues boasts an ace band that includes Shawn Kellerman (guitar), Steve Chadwick (bass), and Gary Craig (drums), as well as guest turns from some of Toronto's most formidable players. Occupying center stage, however, is Pickett himself, whose talents on harmonica (which he treats as an ensemble, rather than a solo instrument) and resophonic guitar shine throughout. Perhaps most importantly, Pickett's soulful voice (think a mix of John Hammond and John Hiatt) serves as the perfect vehicle with which to convey his roots-oriented musings.
© 2006 Michael Pickett