Friday, June 21, 2024

Robin Trower – Joyful Sky

Only a year after his last album, 2022’s No More Worlds To Conquer, blues guitarist Robin Trower returns to the scene with his latest offering Joyful Skyan album which is certainly as good as anything else he’s done in recent years. On this album, however, he’s paired up with the smoky, smouldering voice of New Yorker Sari Schorr, saying “I’ve worked with some great singers down the years, but Sari is dynamite, an absolute knockout”. In my humble opinion, she’s the best singer Trower’s worked with since the late, great James Dewar. Just listen to her impassioned vocals on ‘I Will Always Be Your Shelter,’ where she wrings every drop of emotion from her voice on a song about helping someone through hard times.

Few musicians well into their seventies are still recording good new music, but Trower now a sprightly 78 is one in this dwindling band. At his age, he’s unlikely to be in the market for winning new fans, so he sticks to what he does best, which means if you’re a fan of Trower’s, you’ll already know what to expect, and it doesn’t disappoint, because he’s not resting on his laurels and is still wanting to write and record new material.

Robin Trower’s a very distinctive guitarist and his assured touch and sensitivity has put him up there. He’s a very underrated and often overlooked guitarist, but… man, he can play! He embraces what many guitarists sometimes seem to forget, which is less can often mean more. An example of this can be heard on ‘Circle Is Complete,’ a seven-minute track which begins as a bluesy rocker but, midway through, slows to a mournful blues, with Trower filling the next few minutes with some very tasteful guitar licks, playing only a small number of notes, but with feel and style. We can all think of bluesy guitarists who’d have filled the space with hundreds of notes but with nothing like the touch Trower produces.

The album opens with ‘Burn’ (not the Purple song), a smooching slow blues about calming down an angry partner, followed by the soulful vibe of ‘I’ll Be Moving On’. ‘Peace Of Mind’ is an outstanding track, a slow blues with the feel of ‘Sway’ by The Stones, as is also the title track ‘Joyful Sky’ with some delicious playing from Trower. On every track, Trower’s playing is restrained and performed with subtlety and style, with Schorr’s soulful vocals adding something extra to the music.

Many fans thought the title of Trower’s last album was a coded message, saying that’ll be his last release, but happily not. He’s stated he still has “inspiration to burn” and “no intention of slowing down.” Good to know.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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Only a year after his last album, 2022’s No More Worlds To Conquer, blues guitarist Robin Trower returns to the scene with his latest offering Joyful Sky - an album which is certainly as good as anything else he’s done in recent years. On...Robin Trower - Joyful Sky