Brian Blain,
Overqualified for the Blues
(NorthernBlues, 2005)

Canadian folk and blues singer-songwriter Brian Blain has been making music for some 40 years, and he is still playing the same guitar. During his career, Blain has been involved in every aspect of the music business and, in true musical style, Blain had a jam session at his 50th birthday party. Blain has shared the stage with Gene Taylor of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Lou Reed, Seals & Crofts, Loudon Wainwright and Joni Mitchell. Blain can frequently be seen playing in Toronto.

On his latest album, Overqualified for the Blues, Blain has the liner notes laid out similar to a curriculum vitae. Under the heading of qualifications Blain lists: never taking a lesson, not known to practice, never playing a song the same way twice, writing and playing songs in simple chords and melodies usually in the key of E, and writing about everyday life.

Blain's sense of humour does not end there; he also puts it into his songs by making fun of the music business. Blain's music is more than just folk-blues; he also plays bluegrass-style songs, delta blues and straight-up blues pieces.

Blain currently makes his home in Toronto, but he is originally from Quebec; to that end Blain also performs a song in French -- "Enfant Choisi" (Chosen Child) -- complete with an English explanation spoken beforehand.

The CD of 13 mostly original songs will not impress anyone with fancy riffs and licks, but it is a pleasant diversion from the toils of everyday life and shows that you don't have to be a virtuoso to make good music.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Sherrill Fulghum

19 July 2008

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