Blues Underground Network UK Blues Album Of The Year 2011
It does not take any time at all, once you start listening to Sleepy Eyes Nelson's music, to realize that when it comes to Country Blues, he is certainly the real deal. Sleepy Eyes Nelson is probably one of the purest and unpretentious Blues players out there today. He lives his life with a rare simplicity and creates and plays his style of Country Blues in much the same manner. A good example of that is his latest release, "Where The Town Ends", an album for which Sleepy Eyes Nelson, not only wrote all but two of the Tracks, he also mixed and recorded it Live in his home.
"Where The Town Ends" consists of 10 Tracks, with the 2 Tracks Sleepy Eyes Nelson did not write, credited to Mike Snow ("Preacher Man Blues" and "Laughin' Mortician Blues"). Of the 10 Tracks all but 2 end with the word Blues and if you ever thought there was something that had not had the Blues sung about it, you would be convinced that that list has certainly shortened, once you see the subject matter covered on this album. Fried Chicken Blues, Preacher Man Blues, Giving Up Blues, Laughin' Mortician Blues, St. Vincent Street Blues, Not So Friendly Blues, Dying Rodent Blues, and Postman Blues are about as diverse a collection of Blues subjects you are apt to hear on any Blues album, Country Blues or otherwise.
There are 3 things that make Sleepy Eyes Nelson such a great Country Blues artist, which are his vocals, his mastery of the Guitar, and his amazing ability to put pen to paper. His vocals are clear and concise, reminiscent of artists from many years past, most notable, although not a Country Blues artist, Hank Williams Sr. Nelson's vocals just match his music perfectly. One reviewer stated that "His sound belongs among the best blues musicians of the early 20th century", and I certainly could not argue with that. His Guitarmanship, comes across with a feel of flawless simplicity, yet we all know how hard it must have been to master his style of playing to the level he has achieved. Last, but certainly not least, is his amazing and prolific songwriting which match the true essence of Country Blues to perfection, not only in their content and delivery, but also in their length, which, for this album, were authentically all under 3 minutes. There is also one other bit that draws this album into the realm of true old fashioned Country Blues, and that is the rawness you get from this album due to it being recorded Live. It is that rawness that makes you feel like Sleepy Eyes Nelson is sitting right there in your house with you.
Although perceived, by me at least, as being a somewhat humble Country Blues artist whom simply loves doing what he is doing and if it leads to accolades and acclaim, it is appreciated but certainly it is not his main goal, which is to just keep writing and performing the Blues, just for the love of it.
As far as Country Blues is concerned, you won't find any much better then Sleepy Eyes Nelson and you won't find any much better Country Blues recording, especially in this day and age, then "Where The Town Ends".
For Country Blues afficianado's, "Where The Town Ends" is a must have and highly recommended addition to ones collection.
I would also like to Highly Recommend Sleepy Eyes Nelson's "The Town Trail" a great companion CD to "Where The Town Ends", and for which was also recorded in the same manner and style.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
released November 12, 2011
Preacher man Blues and Laughing Mortician Blues written by Mike Snow from Texas.
All others by Sleepy Eyes Nelson
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