Colin Linden: bLOW
Resonant guitar work and gritty, bluesy vocals fuel a compelling cut.
By Kerry Doole
Colin Linden - bLOW (Highway 20/Thirty Tigers): The Toronto-raised Nashville-based Linden is a true roots music renaissance man, as an in-demand producer, session guitarist, singer/songwriter, and one-third of roots-rock supergroup Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, alongside Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing.
He somehow finds time to record and release solo albums too, and the upcoming bLOW is his 14th in 40 years. It comes out on Sept. 17, making Linden the first outside artist on longtime friend Lucinda Williams’ Highway 20 label, distributed by Nashville-based Thirty Tigers.
The just-released title track is vintage Linden, combining his signature resonant guitar work and gritty, bluesy vocals. It is neatly accompanied by a black and white lyric video, one showcasing such compelling lines as "Desire can make you weep, Keep to the shallows, There’s a prison in the deep." The song is co-written with his wife, novelist/musician Janice Powers, who also plays Hammond B3 organ on it.
Linden explains that "this song is like a boxing match going on in a tiny arena in a casino town. Trying to hang on through even 3 rounds. Hope everything turns out alright."
In a press release, he describes the genesis of the album: “I had been asked to come up with some Texas-Louisiana border music as stock music for a TV show. After coming up with and recording maybe 18 pieces of music, I came to feel that a number of them were songs just waiting to be finished, so when the air cleared and we were locked down, I let the music lead me to the words.”
“Roots music and blues do speak to a lot of people right now,” he acknowledges. “Much of the healing and release you get from listening to this music, the power and form of expression, has shown itself to be so vital in these times. It feels timeless because it’s such a raw nerve.”
The new album features contributions from his lifelong Toronto collaborators, drummer Gary Craig and bassist John Dymond (the three, dubbed the Rotting Matadors, play on many of the Bruce Cockburn albums Linden produced), plus Dave Jaques (John Prine) and Paul Griffiths.
The stats for Linden's prolific career are staggering. He has played on over 500 albums and produced 140, including his first-ever Grammy in 2020 for producing Keb Mo’s Oklahoma, winner for Best Americana Album. He has also earned 25 Juno Award nominations and nine wins.
As a singer/guitarist, he’s accompanied everyone from Bruce Cockburn to Bob Dylan, Greg Allman, Rihannon Giddens, The Band, Pistol Annies, John Prine, and more. He was also the main contributor to the music for the hit Nashville TV show and subsequent live tours.
We eagerly await the new album.
Management: Allen Moy, Divine Industries
PR: Karen Wiessen, All Eyes Media