Sonny Landreth : Elemental Journey

Written by Nick Hutchinson

July 29, 2012

Known for his innovative approach to slide playing and his journeyman work for artists including Jimmy Buffet and John Hiatt, Sonny Landreth has a reputation as a top-shelf stringman with an ear for sonic perfection.

On his all-instrumental release Elemental Journey, Landreth is joined by  guitarist Joe Satriani on the roiling opening track, “Gaia Tribe,” and six-string ace Eric Johnson, on the sizzling cut “Passionola.” In addition to these well-acclaimed ringers, he also enlists the help of arranger Sam Broussard and the classical strings of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra to layer the fusion-tinged sound with even more pleasing textures.

The guitar-driven explorations on Journey are abstract and thought-provoking, creating intriguing sonic palettes that take the musicians and listeners to unpredictable places while staying tonally rooted in rock, blues and jazz guitar. Trinidadian steel drum master Robert Greenidge makes a welcome contribution on the track “Forgotten Story,” while Landreth’s regular drummers – Mike Burch, Brian Brignac and Doug Belote – also contribute to the beautifully crafted disc.

Some of the compositions here were influenced by events including Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and Sonny’s day-to-day life in Louisiana. It’s music that transports, questions and breathes.

Elemental Journey is out now on Landfall Records.