Thunder's Mouth, CD by Scott Ainslie

"Produced with Grammy award-winning engineer and producer Corin Nelsen, the album does an amazing job of building a bridge between traditional and contemporary blues.

Musical scholar
releases indispensable blues album

Wildman Steve
For The Corner News
Auburn AL
November 19, 2008

Scott Ainslie is a scholar, a historian, a teacher and a hell of a musician. He is the author of “Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads” (1992), a book of transcriptions of the recordings of the Mississippi Blues legend with complete annotated lyrics, a brief history of the blues icon, and historical notes. He is also the teacher for “Robert Johnson’s Guitar Techniques” (1997), an instructional video that has become a must-have DVD for blues guitarists.

Ainslie’s new album, “Thunder’s Mouth,” is his fifth in 13 years and is bound to become as indispensable to blues guitarists’ music collections as his book is to their libraries. Ainslie enlists the talents of three other highly accomplished musicians to make the album. Eugene Friesen is the Grammy award-winning cellist with the Paul Winter Consort. Sam Broussard is a Louisiana guitarist who’s played with Michael Murphey, Malcolm Holcomb, Sonny Landreth, Michael Doucet and T-Mamou to name a few, and T-Bone Wolk is “that guy with the hat,” bassist extraordinaire for Hall & Oates as well as Elvis Costello, Carly Simon, and many others including the on-camera Saturday Night Live band from 1986-92.

Produced by Grammy award-winning engineer and producer Corin Nelsen, the album does an amazing job of building a bridge between traditional and contemporary blues. Setting the tone right off the bat, “Down In Mississippi,” a classic J.B Lenoir tune, lays the groundwork. There is a darkness to the feel of the record, but a simultaneous joy in the technique of the performance and the songwriting. Ainslie covers Robert Johnson on a stellar version of “Dust My Broom,” as well as a great arrangement of Tom Waits’ “Little Trip To Heaven” and Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face” and takes songwriting credit for four of the tunes including the album’s title track and closer. “Thunder’s Mouth” takes its name from William Shakespeare and, according to the composer’s liner notes, was a song that “shadowed me like a half-wild stray for most of a year. Curled up by the fire now, it’s home.”

Much like me with this album.