Terry Robb, Confessin’ My Dues

Terry Robb, Confessin’ My Dues, Niasounds

Fine album of acoustic blues from Canadian fingerstyle guitarist, Terry Robb. Robb is associated with the American Primitive Guitar genre through his collaboration with John Fahey. The American Primitive Guitar style is derived from the country blues and string band music of the ’20s and ’30s, though it has its own contemporary feel. As you might expect, then, Terry Robb’s compositions draw on Delta blues, ragtime, folk, country and jazz traditions.

We get a feast of all that on Confessin’ My Dues, thirteen original Robb songs (two collaborations), of which eight are instrumentals. Robb is a skilful guitarist, giving us a wide range of traditional sounding tracks with just him on acoustic guitar, from the fast ragtime Butch Holler Stomp to the traditional blues of Still on 101 and the Robert Johnson-esque Blood Red Moon to the minor key Death of Blind Arthur, which morphs into a cool ragtime number, to the fast and furious slide-resonator driven High Desert Everywhere. The guitar work is inventive, precise, and always engaging. There’s much to appreciate for guitar fans generally and fans of Piedmont or Delta blues fingerpicking in particular.

There’s some nifty jazz too, on Three Time the Blues, where we find Robb on electric guitar backed by some cool stand-up bass from Dave Captein, with Gary Hobbes on drums. There are some nice numbers with Robb playing either acoustic or electric guitar along with a first rate small band, including the title track and Heart Made of Steel, both featuring some very tasty solo guitar work.

If you’re a fan of acoustic blues, this one’s for you.