Thunder's Mouth, CD by Scott Ainslie

"Combining a soulful, robust voice with expressive guitar work, Ainslie covers a lot of ground on this crisply produced session.
-Mike Joyce, The Washington Post, Washington DC

SCOTT AINSLIE
Thunder's Mouth
Cattail #2008

LIKE JOHN HAMMOND JR., Rory Block, Eric Clapton and other more widely known blues artists, Scott Ainslie can't shake the ghost of Robert Johnson. The Virginia-bred singer-songwriter and guitarist has written a book about the Delta legend, recorded his songs and even produced an instructional DVD that explores Johnson's highly influential guitar technique.

Ainslie reconnects with his muse on the new CD "Thunder's Mouth," turning in an evocative solo performance of Johnson's "Dust My Broom." But the track isn't representative of the album's rewards. Combining a soulful, robust voice with expressive guitar work, Ainslie covers a lot of ground on this crisply produced session. He may not have set out to connect the dots between, say, Son House (represented by "Grinnin' in Your Face") and Tom Waits ("Little Trip to Heaven"), but their tunes, along with those of J.B. Lenoir ("Down in Mississippi") and Vera Hall ("Another Man Done Gone"), nevertheless create appealing links.

"Thunder's Mouth" has other things going for it: Ainslie's songwriting, for one. It has a distinctly contemporary edge, as the post-Katrina lament "It's Gonna Rain" illustrates. Also a big plus is the support provided by cellist Eugene Friesen, guitarist Sam Broussard and bassist-keyboardist T-Bone Wolk, who add to the album's color and scope.

-- Mike Joyce, The Washington Post