Title - Winter Hill Blues
Artist - Ryan Lee Crosby
For those not in the know, Ryan Lee Crosby’s new album Winter Hill Blues captures the timeless power of music from the Mississippi Delta, refracted by influences of Hindustani slide guitar and Crosby’s own unique approach to the style.
Its nine songs resonate with a sound and spirit forged from his life as a traveling musician and his studies with masters of the Delta and Indian traditions.
Produced by Fat Possum Records’ Bruce Watson at his Delta-Sonic Sound studio in Memphis, Winter Hill Blues is available on June 3rd, 2022 via Bandcamp and streaming platforms.
“Of all the world’s musical traditions, the one that speaks to me most directly is the Bentonia style of Delta blues,” Crosby relates. “Something I love about the blues is its timeless ability to express the entire range of the human experience: it’s brightest joys, deepest sorrows and everything in between. By listening to the blues, we can learn how to have compassion for ourselves and others. Its lessons are endless.”
1. I’m Leaving
2. Winter Hill Blues
3. Down So Long
4. Eight Years Gone
5. Going to Bentonia
6. Was it the Devil?
7. Institution Blues
8. Slow Down
9. Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
This magnificently vibrant, wholly ambient, and genuinely heartfelt new album opens on the rhythmical foot tapper I’m Leaving and the almost ethereal gossamer balladry of the title track Winter Hill Blues and then brings us the tambourine-slapping, foot-tapping grooves of Down So Long and the funky, drum-led Eight Years Gone.
Next up is the languishing beauty found within Going to Bentonia which is in turn followed by the melodic acuteness of Was it the Devil?, the upbeat Institution Blues, rounding out on the earthy, pleadingly breathy vocals of Slow Down, coming to a close on the expressive Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down.
“For me, Winter Hill Blues is the culmination of all those experiences and influences,” Crosby says. “I hear blues, Indian classical music, and Malian guitar as being interconnected through the common traits of a centered harmony, with an emphasis on melody, supported by repetition and rhythm, while singing the truth of one’s experience within a spare, beautiful framework that reflects an openness of mind and heart.”
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