Paolo Bonfanti – Takin’ a Break


Paolo Bonfanti

Takin’ a Break

Club de Musique Recording

9/10

_______________

You’ll like it if:

– The 50s is your decade

– You feel the blues in your blood

During an interview I was told that “Blues is the music of the soul, visceral in its approach”. Nothing new (I mean, think about Jerry Lee Jewis and B.B. King), but for an audience that may be not that familiar with the roots of this genre, the idea given above quite summarizes what Paolo Bonfanti and his ‘Takin’  Break’ convey to the listener. I am talking about the less distorted blues, which is basically the re-interpretation of great classics with a southern rock approach (sometimes even noisier). What I am going to write about today is a genius of the Italian blues scene, whose area of interest is the Austin one, more than the Mississippi scene at least. Paolo Bonfanti is one of the most prolific blues songwriters in the country, also one of the most well-known outside the Italian borders. ‘Takin’ a Break’ is the latest album of his solo career and it sums up his passion for country, blues and rock and roll from the 50s. Quite intimate in its atmosphere, this one-man full-length explores different sub-influences like some quite catchy country-folk-rock, the one you’d hear in Dylan’s ‘Highway 69 Revisited’, from the electric country to the folk approach (‘Isolation Row’, ‘Nowhere Fast’). Apart from the reinterpretation of the classic blues, in which traditional tunes mix with heavy distortion in the background (‘Dark and Lonesome Night’), the songwriter includes also some George Thorogood-style blues rock, in which electric guitar is accompanied by other instruments and the vocals are raw and scratchy (‘Shoot Em All Down’). We get back to the Golden Age of blues (Muddy Walters, Elmore James) with ‘Between Me and You’ and its sensual atmosphere, but not long enough because the most intimate songs are to come, like in the J Mascis-esque title-track.
This an album that blues lovers should have and newcomers will like for its wide range of references. Now that spring is coming we can brush off this disc and make up for the fact that we (me included) lost its release in 2011. Nothing more than the music of the soul.

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