Ian SiegalIan Siegal
Album: The Picnic Sessions
Label: Nugene
Tracks: 16

Following on from his last outing, the solo "Man & Guitar" recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, Ian Siegal is back with an album of raw acoustic blues and roots music.

"The Picnic Sessions" sees Siegal joined in Mississippi with fellow Mudbloods,, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Cody and Luther Dickinson along with Jimbo Mathius .

In true session style, sat round ribbon microphones and recorded direct to tape there is an evident enthusiasm and sheer joy of playing that comes out of the speakers.

It's incredibly intimate, as if you had stumbled into a back room (porch) and found a group of friends playing the music they like for themselves and you were privileged to listen.

What you get to hear then is a mixture of new songs and old, of songs borrowed, all wrapped in Siegal's industrial strength gravel fuelled voice supported by numerous guitars, mandolins, mandocello, banjo and whatever was at hand at the time.

Of the old songs "Beulah land" is revisited and added to, "How Come You're Still Here" gets a welcome dusting down and you're acutely aware of how good the playing is, this is a meeting of musicians melding and following their muse.

If like me you devour new material then "Wasted Freedom" is sheer poetry, think Shel Silverstein at his best. "Keen And Peachy" has some outrageous rhymes and "Talkin Overseas Pirate Blues" is exactly that with dry pan humour and just about every cliché about seafarers you can vaguely remember from your childhood: It is fun though.

And overall to me that's what the album is all about. Having fun and enjoying yourself. There's 16 tracks on the cd many of which are banter and outtakes, they don't detract they help make the vibe that is "The Picnic Sessions".

Now where did I put that last sandwich and Birds pork pie?

Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus are currently appearing in the UK and the Netherlands, the "Roots To The Core" tour starts in Keighley on Friday 7th November and cumulates at the end of the month in Belfast on Sat 29th.

Ian Cripps