Eric Bibb – Jericho Road
Journeyman singer-songwriter guitarist Eric Bibb and his collaborator Glenn Scott have assembled a wide cast of characters with a colorful palette of sounds to weave the tapestry that is true world music fusion on the new release Jericho Road.
The thirteen song collection draws lyrical inspiration from Dr. King, Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the like, while meshing musical textures of folk, blues, soul, African and Latin to create an album of meditation, motivation and celebration. At the center is the rich velvety baritone and story teller sensibility of Bibb’s easy vocal and clean picking guitar.
The album leads off with its only cover song, a loving reading of the ”Drinkin’ Gourd,” a tome that lead many to freedom on the Underground Railroad, lest we soon forget the need for such songs. The guests filter in inconspicuously as the songs flow forward with Andre’ De Lange, Chinka Simon and Ruthie Foster adding vocals, to “Freedom Train,” and the prophetic “Have A Heart.” Jerry Brown lays down the drum track on “Let The Mothers Step Up, and Victor Wooten slips in on bass for elusively funky “The Right Thing.” Grant Dermody lends mournful harmonica to the new traditional “Death Row Blues,” and the amazing Session Horns Sweden, add fire and spice to three tracks.
The array of exotic instruments heard is fascinating as the kora, kalimba, djembe from Africa, the Irish penny whistle, a Turkish Saz, Scandinavian Clarino, Dobro, spoons and a fretless gourd banjo make tasteful appearances.
These songs of heart and hope may be a crowning achievement in Bibb’s four-decade career, and lord knows the world needs to hear them.
Rick J Bowen