This Australian blues singer/songwriter's reputation is spreading across the oceans from his homeland; he is playing festivals in the United Kingdom and has done some soundtracks for a couple of British movies and television. Cal Williams, Jr. is known for his slide guitar playing and uses it to evoke a rich and intense musical backdrop for some of his songs on this offering. He wrote seven of the songs here, co-wrote one and does covers of 1 blues standard; Pallet on the Floor by Mississippi John Hurt and a song that we've heard as blues, gospel or folk, Lay My Burden Down, a traditional tune arranged by him. On this disc he is playing mostly acoustic slide guitar and has a group playing behind him that supports the songs in a manner that show them in good light. Kory Horwood is on double bass and vocals, Manny Kechayas on jazz kit, udu and Cajon, Anthony Pak Poy on guitar ukelele (spelled this way on the disc but it may be an Aussie spelling) and electric bass Dee Trewartha on violin and vocals, and Emily Davis on vocals rounds out the group.
All that I Learned from the Sea is a disc that is characterized by some very good playing that makes the most of the songs possibilities, but that never really cuts lose and displays the latent potential. He wanders from blues to folk without ever really exploring more than a surface take on the songs. Two of the more interesting songs are both instrumentals, Geshe La and the very expressive Ghost of Banjo. There is no indication who does most of the lead singing however it is the weak spot of the disc as instrumentally it displays some excellent playing. It would be interesting to hear more of his catalogue to get a better idea of the scope of his playing.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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