Steve Baker & Chris Jones

Steve Baker & Chris Jones - Everybody's Cryin' Mercy

This classic duo comes back with a very interesting new album. Their musical world will be familiar if you frequent those clubs where today's blues blossoms : a well-balanced mix of standards and originals, with a touch of folk and soul.

The one thing that is striking with this record is the complicity and maturity of these two musicians. Chris Jones' guitar and voice are excellent, Steve Baker's harp playing as inventive as ever, and always in the service of musicality. These two players are really complimentary.

Steve Baker does not hesitate to use daring accompaniments, like his famous tongue blocking harmonies, stunning in precision. Steve varies between an acoustic sound and a 'big' electric saturated one, and even dwells into "industrial harp" country ! His solos are as always, well mastered and very musical. His phrases are well oiled on difficult runs and he uses advanced techniques (yes, overblows too) to blend with the chords and follow the harmonies. His whole sound gives an impression of fluidity and ease.

An interesting plus for harp players : keys, positions and tunings are indicated in the CD booklet. You will notice the use that Steve Baker does of the tuning of his own invention, the Hohner SBS (Steve Baker Special), a 13 hole harp with an additional low octave.

Greg Szlapczynski

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