John Sieger: Live at Bob’s
John Sieger, from Milwaukee, has been through several incarnations as musician and band leader and along the way has produced several albums under his own name. His previous offering, ‘The Shaming of the True’, was the first time I’d come across him and didn’t really set my world on fire, to be honest – too mannered in his songwriting style for my taste, really. ‘Live at Bob’s’, though, is altogether more listenable. Lovingly recorded at a house concert, it has all the intimate atmosphere of music being made in the moment that such a recording should have.
This was actually the second attempt at a live recording so full marks for dedication to the cause of quality control. I still have problems with his songwriting sometimes: he’s too fond of rather strained puns for my liking. He can be direct, though and When My Angel Smiles, for example, is a rather beautiful song and a fair indication of why several of his songs have been picked up by high profile artists over the years.
The thing that gives this album something special though is the easy going musicality of the players; John’s brother Mike – with whom he’s played for ever and a day – is on bass and the very fine Bill Dwyer contributes electric guitar. It’s a pretty low-key sound that they’re making but there’s room for some very fine breaks, slightly jazzy in tone at times and the sound of three guitarists working so effortlessly together is pretty fine. It reminds me of the records a guitarist friend of mine sends my way by the likes of Peter Rowan and Norman Blake – not exactly high on hit making possibilities but very high on amiability and musicality. Live at Bob’s is just such a gentle pleasure.
Here is John in an earlier Incarnation with The Subcontinentals
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