Guitarist and producer Eric Tingstad continues his vision quest of regional reflection, reminiscing and reinvention for his newest album Mississippi released April of 2015. The Grammy winning instrumentalist shows off his skills on his follow up to Southwest and Badlands by once again using the landscape as inspiration. Tingstad describe the area as “The Cradle of American Music,” and the eleven tracks run the gamut from blues, soul, roots and jazz with the old Irish standard “Danny Boy,” done as a country two step for good measure. He begins the journey down the big muddy with the compelling track “Long Boats,” featuring a driving beat and smooth electric guitar sounds that evoke a working port. The lazy shuffle “Shakin’ in The Cradle,” follows and urges us to settle in for the long ride. The title track starts as a mysterious drone blues that evokes a world of undiscovered treasures and old ghosts then slips into a gentle R&B groove. “Trail of Tears,” rolls off as a mournful sire song whose melody is traded back and forth from guitar to pedal steel. Legendary rhythm man Chris Leighton supplied the drums and percussion to the project and adds some unusual sounds to “Swamped,” and the slinky “Skamania.” The easy glide of “Highway One,” feels like and ode to a Sunday drive in the country. While the Spanish guitars and syncopated rhythms of “Durango,” remind us the river end in the Gulf of Mexico. The trip closes out with the energetic finger picking theme “Chester,” telling us it’s time to circle back and head on home. Recorded in his home studio in Sammamish WA, Mississippi is a sonic travelogue that stirs the imagination.
Rick J Bowen