The blues comes with a side order of West African griot music when Dan Treanor and Rex Peoples sit down to celebrate on Mercy. When African Wind introduced Treanor's brand of "Afrosippi Blues in late 2004, it was with deep respect for Mississippi blues, along with a stark interest in traditional African roots music. The recommended Mercy extends that ambitious thread with sizzling excitement and carries on the blues tradition convincingly.
Treanor, who hails from Colorado, makes his own African string instruments. A veteran of over 35 years in the blues, he packs a powerful harmonica wallop into each performance. With twelve original songs on the program, Treanor shapes the album so that he maintains a balance between roots blues and its African connection. A tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell and several searing vocal numbers color the blues of the Deep South with a broad brush. "African Tale, on the other hand, features Ghanaian master storyteller Nii Armah Sowah and a chorus of soulful chants alongside Treanor's vast array of handmade instruments.
Mercy takes on a gospel texture as Peoples leads an exciting call and response chorus. Randy Mrugala follows the title track with a soulful guitar spot on "Standing in the Shadows, which features Christine Webb singing about the way we feel when times are hard and loneliness sets in. Treanor's blues harp leads "Tonight's the Night with a soulful texture that sends goose bumps up and down your spine, while Peoples' interpretation of "Rock Me Baby recalls the powerful spiritual tradition that brings the blues into our hearts.
Speaking candidly, Treanor introduces "Fire and Ice, a special bonus track that closes the session with souls afire and a captivating rhythmic groove.
From African Soul; Burden of Blues; Mississippi Fred
Dan Treanor: harmonica, acoustic guitar, dobro, banjo, khalam, ngoni, diddley bow, cane
flute; Rex Peoples: lead vocals, background vocals, tambourine; DJ Mrugala: vocals, drums,
percussion; Christine Webb: vocals, bass; Randy Mrugala: guitar; Jim Beckstein: piano,
organ; Kyle Roberts, Gary Flori: percussion; Jean Bolger: fiddle on Burden of Blues