He's a bitch of a fingerstylist out of St. John's! He's jammed with Yank Rachell and Skip James and he wrote all this here. And this here is blues/folk, recalling the upwardly-transient- but-not-quite-urban-yet rural blues of Fred McDowell or Tampa Red, from a Newfoundland perspective, acoustic except for the 17th track and featuring his guitar, graveled voice, harmonica, and guest accompaniment. In tunes like Black Fly Moan, Curmudgeon Baby Blues or Hoodoo Doctor (Self-Esteem Blues) Narvaez's picking could rival Merle Travis's (or, he could tell you who!) - anyway we're talkin' Red Hot and Blue. Meanwhile he turns out a nice ballad like The Stove. Why not ask for it? Check out www.ambermusic.ca and tell 'em Dean sent ya.
Dean Cottrill THE HOUR (Montreal)
On Some Good Blues Narváez opts for acoustic arrangements, and all parts ring through full and clear, with plenty of texture, rhythm and life. It took only one listen to realize that a full backup band, however capable, would have overpowered this dynamic and thus spoiled the subtlety that makes this album work. Stylistically, the songs run a wide range. "Make Some Time", "Hoodoo Doctor", "Black Fly Moan" and "Curmudgeon Baby Blues" are frenetically up-tempo, showcasing hyper-fast fingerpicking, subtle harmonica backup and some fine guitar soloing by Glen Collins. "Organically Grown" keeps the tempo up with funky, staccato guitar and amusing lyrics, complemented nicely once again by Collins. "Maine" and "The Stove" are mellower, more serious and richly textured, with the guitars upstaged by Narváez's subtly raunchy harmonica (how DO you do that Peter?) and low soothing vocals somewhere between Dylan, Cohen and Lanois. "Proper Thing Bounce" is a hilarious rag celebrating one of the great things about Newfoundland -- da way we talks! "Time Alone With You" and "My Wife Drove Me From the Door" are sung with a twinkle in the eye and campy enough to put a smile on your face. The one electric track on this recording, "Bad Blood Mama", is actually an archival release from [the group] Divin' Duck (1978) and though it appears to be in mono and lacks the sound quality of the rest of the album, nonetheless it is quite enjoyable and works like a snapshot into Peter's past. It also reveals his musical energy and panache. I'm confident that those who enjoy acoustic blues will take to Some Good Blues immediately, and those who are introduced to blues through this recording may very well be "converted" and want to seek out more.
THE MEASURE, St. John's
While we're on the subject of Canadian blues guitarists, I should mention Some Good Blues, the first CD of Peter Narváez. Living in the Eastern-most Canadian province of Newfoundland, Narváez is an acoustic blues musician (harmonica and mandolin, in addition to the guitar) and singer-songwriter whose music has more in common with the Piedmont variety than with the Delta or Chicago styles. Using no drums and no bass, but rather favoring a two-guitar plus harmonica set-up, and singing in a smoky voice, Narváez deals with modern themes (the difficulty of getting away from beepers, junk food, cigarettes), but his songs are steeped in tradition. Narváez is a good harmonica accompanist and a nimble-fingered guitarist, and the interactions between he and the second guitarist (either Glen Collins, Darrell Cooper or Steve Hussey) are complex and ear-catching. Interestingly, Narváez has chosen to let us in on his past --- the last track of the CD, "Bad Blood Mama," was recorded in 1978 by the electric boogie-blues trio he was in at the time, Divin' Duck. Though this last track doesn't easily fit beside the others, it helps us form a better picture of who this talented musician is.
PHOENIX BLUES SOCIETY
At last what I have waited for all these years, and it is no disappointment, in fact it is dynamite! Fine songwriting, breathtaking guitar, great arrangements, terrific sidemen (my compliments to Neil Rosenberg for the mandolin solo on "Time Alone With You"). An exciting experience!
Greg Hildebrand, AUSTRALIAN FOLKSINGER
Minhamite, Victoria, Australia
Peter Narváez is an acoustic blues performer with a powerful, smooth, gritty voice which penetrates deeply within. His terrific voice is showcased throughout all of the tunes. ... all these songs written and performed by Narváez are excellent. All songs here are originals. Packaging and production are both first-rate. The choice of material is nicely balanced too, with a mixture of up tempo and slower numbers This is a very good CD and is recommended by me especially if you're not yet into Peter Narváez.
WINNIPEG BLUES SOCIETY
Beautiful finger-picking blues from St. John's with some of the finest local talent including Darrell Cooper, Steve Hussey, Sandy Morris, Glen Collins and Neil Rosenberg. Peter has played with tons of American blues greats and this album showcases his fine playing and songwriting. 15 originals and 2 classics make this the Blues highlight of the summer.