Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Possessed by Paul James - Cold and Blind

Possessed by Paul James
Cold & Blind
(2008, Voodoo Rhythm)
File Under = Intensely soulful blues/folk

While the rest of us content ourselves on oxygen, Konrad Wert seems to be sustained by coals and lighter fluid because as Possessed by Paul James, Wert breathes flames. I don’t mean that as any kind of exaggeration either, it only takes a single spin of Cold and Blind to feel the heat bleeding through the speakers. Wert’s pseudonym suits him well. ‘Possessed’ is definitely adjective I’d use to describe Wert’s maniacal delivery, though who Paul James is, I’m not sure. According to Wikipedia Paul James could be anything from gardner to a sportscaster to (most likely) a Canadian blues guitarist. Cold and Blind is a deeply rooted blues album soaked in a heavy batch of nostalgia. Wert takes on guitar, banjo and violin all with the percussion at his feet and also all by his lonesome. However, where similarly multitasking musicians tend to slow up to juggle their instruments, Wert blazes forward like an obsessed demon, spitting and hollering all along the way. Often coming off as Tourettes patient, Wert’s spontaneous outbursts only serve to underscore the immediacy of Cold and Blue's songs which are often punctuated by the applause of a live audience. The record sounds like it was recorded on Skip James’ back porch, filled to the brim with the ghosts of past blues luminaries. Wert’s voice and guitar never fails to stretch the recordings to their limits, pushing and pulling against the equipment as if the sound intended to break free of the speakers its played on. It is really quite an experience. Amongst the knee slappin’ there is heavy dose of folk balladry that cuts you straight to the core. Possessed by Paul James is nothing if not emotive. A magical, transportative record; Cold and Blind feels like some ancient unearthed genius that’s aged in a way that makes it all the more vibrant and contemporary. I feel like I'm all over the place here but that is the nature of the record I guess - definitely a keeper.

-Mr. Thistle

Possessed by Paul James - "Loves Disease"

1 comment:

Marge Bjork said...

I really love this one.