Introducing the full-length album-CD, Find My Way Back Home performed by Willie McBlind on FreeNote Records. On Find My Way Back Home, NYC guitarist Jon Catler joins forces with vocalist Babe Borden, bassist Neville L’Green and drummer Lorne Watson to form the contemporary blues band, Willie McBlind.
Willie McBlind features Jon Catler, world renowned master of Microtonal Music and Just Intonation, Meredith “Babe” Borden who is well known for her multi-genre 3-octave soaring vocal acrobatics. The tunes on Find My Way Back Home are mostly original works and all arranged by Jon Catler which are largely Delta Blues influenced and which draw on the deep traditions of the original Delta Blues artists. The recording brings this innovative recording’s musical essence back home and up to the present time. The result is a modern electric Delta Blues sound that is part tradition and part innovation.
Guitarist Catler has been a member of La Monte Young’s Forever Bad Blues Band since 1990, which took him on numerous tours of Europe and led to a critically acclaimed double CD on Gramavision. Babe Borden’s ability to sing dueling instrumental lines intertwining with Catler’s guitar gives Willie McBlind’s blues a driving new sound. The experienced rhythm section of L’Green (Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tommy Emmanuel, Billy Joel, Carly Simon) and Watson (Loop 243, The Stone Crazy Blues Band), adds dimension and emphasis to the mix.
After many successful record releases and performances, the material on Find My Way Back Home has been well tested and is extensively proven time and time again. Willie McBlind’s live set encompasses modern rearrangements of deep blues classics by artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Tommy Johnson and Willie Brown as well as high-powered original tunes that are sure to barrel down the house such as Canonballer and Hope My Baby and Catler’s lyric and soulful Shallow Gray. Their powerful and dynamic live show has been honed in NYC venues from The Cutting Room to Makor to Le Bar Bat, the C-Note, the Howl Festival, the Empire State Building and the headlining slot in the October 2004 World Out Of Tune Festival. The band has received airplay on many radio stations including WNYC, WUSB – Stonybrook, KPDK-LA, CACE International TV and Mantra TV, to name a few.
Recorded in 64 notes per octave and Just Intonation, Willie McBlind offers the audience the experience of hearing music that is purely “in-tune” with nature.
Rolling Stone Magazine, David Fricke~
“In the extended improv-reveries of guitarist Jon Catler you can hear the same blue-note pitch swerves that have been the poetry in motion of guitarists from Son House to Jimi Hendrix.”
Blues To Do Magazine, Chris Morda, www.bluestodo.com~
"For many, being a blues artist is a constant struggle between the desire to embrace a tradition while creating something truly original and modern. On their debut album, Find My Way Back Home , Willie McBlind takes this approach to a level that few artists in the blues realm have explored. The band, co-led by guitarist/vocalist Jon Catler and vocalist Babe Borden is a re-invention of the lost and little known tradition of the male/female blues duet tradition best exemplified by pre World War artists such as Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Willie McTell and their various accompanists. Willie McBlind also breaks the mold of the Western twelve tone equal tempered scale by using instruments based on Nature's scale, a 64 note per octave musical system based on notes directly derived from the Harmonic Series. Catler's compositions in this tuning system create a truly unique aural experience, introducing true consonances, microtonal variations, and magical cascading harmonic clouds.
The album starts off with an instrumental, Chicken , that features a riff reminiscent of the 60's organ trio classic, Back at the Chicken Shack and features Catler's custom guitar, with its unique fretting system that features the aforementioned 64 note octave. The end of the tune introduces the magic of the tuning system with a long sustained chord that is both consonant and dissonant at the same time. Canonballer , is a take on a musical canon (a composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration) and features interchanging vocables and guitar lines. Catler and Borden alternate vocal verses on the slow blues grind of Find My Way which also features a haunting guitar solo and long sustained vocal choruses. Hope My Baby , the first of two boogie tracks on the recording, once again finds Catler and Borden exchanging vocal verses and features the 12 Tone Ultra Plus guitar, which is constructed in a way that has some of the notes from Nature's Scale in combination with the normal western 12 Tone Equal Tempered Scale. Shallow Gray is a slow blues and features an extended "cloud section" during the solo break.
Pony Blues, a Charley Patton number and the 6th track on the cd ,starts out as a country blues and then morphs into an all out country western hoe down before winding back down. Train is a strait ahead blues rocker featuring my favorite Borden vocal performance of the ten songs. Fall features fretless guitar which is unacampanied at the beginning and also featured in an extended 60's inflected solo during this heavy riff oriented tune. Every Time, another musical canon form, features haunting interplay between Catler's guitar and Borden's voice and an outstanding guitar solo break. Time Ain't Long , the closer of the set, features an extended feedback drenched"cloud" section on the Twelve Tone Ultra Plus before morphing into an anthematic blues rocker.
I found this album a very enjoyable listen. While the tuning system is quite different than most western ears are accustomed to there's a familiar feeling, like meeting a family member for the first time. The wide range of blues styles, along with the adventurous and oftentimes otherworldly guitar and vocals make this a transcending blues and musical experience."
Visit Willie McBlind on the world wide web at www.microtones.com.