When you hear the phrase “hard-driving blues,” big electric guitars and pounding drums usually come to mind. That can be easily applied to the new album from Sweden’s Bert Deivert & Copperhead Run, though their mostly acoustic sound achieves the distinction without all the excess wattage.
The 12 tracks on Blood in My Eyes for You (released in June of 2015) are a mix of country, swamp, and Delta blues, centered on Deivert’s virtuoso mandolin playing and laidback vocals. The rhythm section of Per-Arne Pettersson on bass and foot stomps, plus drums from Fredrik Lindholm, construct subdued, precise grooves that utilize intense soft sounds. Rounding out the quartet is guitarist Janne Zander, whose resonator and sweet slide playing make the perfect foil for Deivert.
The opening track, “Baby Please Don’t Go,” is one of the ten classics that blues fans will be familiar with, while surely enjoying how the group has reinvented it to fit their house party style. The Son House dirge “Death Letter,” is delivered as a slinky swamp-funk, and the first of four tunes written by Sleepy John Estes, “Mailman Blues,” is a thumping shuffle even without percussion.
Petterson shows off his Bass chops on Deivert’s own tune, “Black Nanny,” weaving his lines in with the mandolin and slide, to create some North Mississippi-style trance-blues. Deivert switches to acoustic guitar for his other original tune, “Cuckoo Crowed,” an easy Piedmont blues with fine electric slide counterpoint. The stomp gets heavy again for “Rob and Steal,” with the trio effectively doubling the vocal on the chorus. The drums return for the final three tracks, including the stalker love song title track and the rollicking cover of R.L Burnside’s “Poor Black Mattie.” Good stuff.
Rick J Bowen