Artists - Adult Contemporary

Sonny Landreth

After a dozen acclaimed albums, virtuoso slide guitarist and bandleader Sonny Landreth found himself at an artistic crossroads. He wanted to finally create the full-length acoustic collection his fans had long requested. But he was also itching to capture the sound of his stalwart electric trio augmented by a couple of his favourite collaborators. And the time was certainly right for an elastic, career-spanning double-live album. 

So Landreth and his long-time friends decided to do it all. ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette’ is a 16-song opus that covers more musical ground than any single album ever could, as the singer and songwriter’s work stretches and twists across 93 minutes of full-band acoustic and electric bottleneck lightning. 

Landreth has collaborated with the very top names in guitar over the years: Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Derek Trucks – the list goes on. The noted slide-man cut his musical teeth in The Red Hot Louisiana Band of zydeco king Clifton Chenier, and Landreth has since recorded and toured with artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette’ adds another major chapter to his tale, as new vocal and instrumental colours emerge, with guitarist Sam Broussard providing brilliant musical counterpoint to Landreth’s innovative playing on songs like “A World Away.” “There’s nothing like a slow minor blues,” Landreth says. “I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful.” Referencing Conn and Broussard’s contributions to his composition, he adds, “This track has one of the greatest accordion blues solos of all time, only to be followed by one of the greatest acoustic blues guitar solos of all time. I’m blown away, and we never plotted out who was gonna play where on what.” 

The encore-level intensity of Landreth’s tour de force tale of romance leading him “Back to Bayou Teche” opens the electric proceedings, before the playlist floats into the ethereal sting of “True Blue.” Conn’s Hammond organ snakes through the second disc, adding the dimensionality he’s provided to countless Landreth performances over the years. 

A triptych of instrumentals kicks off with the soaring “Milky Way Home,” which brings the range of Landreth’s longtime trio mates Ranson and Brignac into high relief. “‘Brave New Girl’ is my favorite among my instrumentals,” Landreth notes. “Live, it’s become joined at the hip with ‘Überesso,’ even though they first appeared on different albums. ‘Brave New Girl’ is probably the most complex and nuanced instrumental piece I’ve ever done, and it’s a good example of how, if you have a song you believe in, then the interpretation with a three-piece band opens up all these spaces, dynamics, and a range of emotions. And then at the apex of that we segue into ‘Überesso,’ so it’s back-to-back the two most difficult songs for me to play.” 

“Soul Salvation” eases the tempo for a swaying slow dance. Landreth wrote the song for his mother many years ago, and he and Ranson played it at her memorial service just a few months before tracking ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette,’ which is dedicated to her memory. “Walking Blues” returns her Mississippi-born son to a Delta stomp before the double-album’s surprise ending: Conn leading the band for “The One and Only Truth,” a tip of the hat to his mother’s advice about going for broke. 

“If you get your best friends together, you might well find the magic,” Landreth muses. “And what better way to end a hometown gig than with an accordion playing a fuel-injected double shuffle?” 

Landreth’s co-producer Tony Daigle recorded the three shows through a 48-channel API 1608 console that had just been used by U2 and was freighted down courtesy of the company’s president/owner Larry Droppa. The different CD and vinyl packages were created by Grammy-nominated graphic designer Megan Barra, and Landreth will support the release with trio dates as well as duo collaborations with gifted lap slide guitarist Cindy Cashdollar. 

“I don’t take opportunities like this for granted, and I wanted to feature everybody that’s in the band,” Landreth emphasizes. “I hope that as part of this celebration of music from so many years of my life that we also shed some light on each of them. You can look up their work and you’re in for one hell of a ride.”