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Meagher, Ryan: Lost Days

Dive right into “Brooks’s Little Blues” on the Lost Days album from Portland guitarist Ryan Meagher, and if you’re not immediately up and out of your seat movin’, groovin’, then there’s no hope for you. The man himself stamps his styled and beguiling authority right over the eight minutes that unfolds, but with the tenor sax of Bill McHenry allowed to lasso a melody round your mind and drummer Mark Ferber encouraged to punctuate it with unobtrusive excellence behind the kit, discovering new elements on every visit is assured. It’s also a perfect example of the blues infused jazz that you can unlock on this album, the busy but classy tones riotous in their reservedness, and never less than hugely rewarding!

Right now Chris Higgins is staring me down, asking why I haven’t mentioned his roaming, rolling, rollicking bass work and nudging the man with all the keys (piano, Hammond B3 organ, Wurlitzer electric piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano), George Colligan and egging him on to add to his ire. Patience gentleman, for this pair’s contribution is equally expressive, equally exuberant and equally expert right across the disc. “Heart-Whole” spins everything about face, the exhilarating challenge replaced by a mood that’s much more low key and yet equally hard hitting, where the sympathy between instruments is something to behold. Every element utterly vital to the success of the other - and they know it - which if anything, makes the end result all the more captivating.

Sliding into view “South Slope” takes a breath and allows the flow to be the focus, Meagher’s tone a seductive delight as you fixate on the beautiful guitar ‘vocal-line’ that he lays down. Again, however, where this guitarist’s real insight comes through is that he allows all the facets of his ensemble to shine as they add ever evolving elements to the mix. Good though all this is (and it is) even the man himself admits in the liner notes that including a song named “Meagher” on this album may seem a little egotistical, but he explains the song’s history, and in fact the exact opposite is true. It’s a wonderful piece and a nice story. But it’s “Bayou Brasileira” which bookends the album and does so with an edgy funked up vibe that immediately draws you in, while in it’s closing “Surf Reprise” sends you on your way with a smile on your face; Hank Marvin floating from Meagher’s frets.

And smiling is a key feature here, for all that the performances are silky smooth and skilled, and the compositions are sultry, scene-stealing and slick, what you leave Lost Days with is a big grin and one that lasts until you slip this disc right back in the player.

Track Listing
1. Bayou Brasileira
2. Absurdly Delinquent
3. Lost Days
4. Brook’s Little Blues
5. Introduction to Heart-Whole
6. Heart-Whole
7. South Slope
8. Deep Ocean Hall
9. Meagher
10. Bayou Brasileira (Surf Reprise)

Added: October 17th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lost Days at Fresh Sound Records
Hits: 563
Language: english

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