Damon Fowler is back with his first album in three years, Sounds Of Home, following up his excellent 2011 effort Devil Got His Way and he shakes things up bringing in blues titan Tab Benoit to produce this latest record, replacing veteran Scott Cable.
I'm going to step outside the review at the outset because I'm afraid this will get lost in the discussion we're about to have: I like the record. Damon is a seriously talented dude with excellent touch as a guitarist and a sweet, appealing voice. He and Benoit together resist the trap that kills many a blues album from players young and old by not cranking the volume and making a rock record masquerading as blues. Fowler plays it the right way; unfortunately, he plays it the same way for much of the 11-track Sounds Of Home.
There is only one flaw on this record because Fowler and Benoit found a formula and cut 11 tracks from that cloth. Benoit should be credited for leaving room to breathe in the production but the sound is dry and lacking dynamics. The material is played at a tempo that doesn't noticeably vary. There aren't memorable melodies and riffs or catchy choruses. Even the surprises on the record... don't. Covering Elvis Costello's "Alison" is an unexpected move and it sounds different than the original but not different from the rest of the material on the record.
Fowler's guitar work is tasty and tasteful, always focused and never overstaying its welcome. His talent shines a bit brighter than his latest record which, when you think of it, isn't such a bad thing for an artist or listener.