Not since 1996’s Secondhand Blues has Angel Forrest offered such a blues/soul inspired recording than her 2013 studio release Mother Tongue Blues. With that, the multiple award winning vocalist embarked on a tour that focused on a trio format.
The result of that venture populated to her latest offering “Live” Love which itself is a bluesy acoustic show recorded at The Palace and offered to music fans in a double disc format.
Curious as to why a two disc set was the avenue chosen for this project as opposed to the safer single disc format, it became evident after a few spins at home and in the car. Forrest has a pretty good back catalogue of songs. Listening to both of the discs, I would be hard pressed to decide which tunes to exclude. The two disc set was the best way to represent one of Forrest’s performances which spans songs across her career and showcases five tunes off of Mother Tongue Blues. A testament to that album, the songs translate acoustically just as well as they do with a full electric band. Forrest’s singing enfolds whichever medium chosen to deliver a set.
The sound quality of this recording is worth mentioning. It was an “in house” production with Denis Coulombe wearing the hats of engineer, recorder, mixer…sound man in general. The resulting mix is juicy, detailed. It gives you that live feeling, almost as if you were there.The only thing missing is some of Forrest’s in between song banter. Hubby Coulombe is often left scratching his head. Even more so in this instance as he had to edit it out of the mix. It probably would have been a three disc set otherwise! That being said, it was the only editing done. What you hear is what those in attendance heard.
The set catches the core that the three musicians radiate in their live performances. The two guitarists have remarkable chemistry and complement each other extraordinarily well. Paul DesLauriers can play the acoustic to the most aggressive extreme and on the turn of a dime play it at its’ most subtle as exemplified on ‘Move On’ and ‘Turtle Blues’. Coulombe as well can be intense when need be, all the while keeping the structural rhythmic pulse in check. The former was awarded Guitarist of the Year at the 2014 Maples Blues Awards and the latter, the same accolades at the Lys Blues Awards. The two provide the perfect backdrop for Forrest to shine. Forrest, as we have become accustomed to, nails every song. From the softest delivery to the throaty screams that the recording is littered with, Forrest time in and time out proves why she was awarded the Maple and Lys Blues awards for best female vocalist. Walking Blues, Papa Come Quick, and Mama are pick me up songs. Tell Me Why is simply a well written song. Holy Man epitomizes what Forrest can do. She sings with passion and is not afraid to let loose but Holy Man sees her hold back for the majority of the song just adding that grit where needed. Come Alive moves along with the same vibe.
Live albums work when they aren’t tinkered with in the studio afterwards. They give you an indication of the performers true talent. When you can dim the lights, crank the volume, and get crystal clear sound, it is easy to immerse yourself in the feeling that you are experiencing the music at an actual concert hall.
Well done. As Mark Farner once coined, “Good singing, good playing”. That’s exactly what this CD provides.