Toronto Blues Society picks Confessin' My Dues for July podcast, review
July - 2019, Terry Robb, Confessin’ My Dues (NiaSounds)
It is not so well known that Terry Robb is one of blues’ top acoustic finger picking guitarists. That may be partly because this longtime Portland, Oregon resident rarely travels to the east. It is even less well-known that he was born in Vancouver. Now 62, he has released fourteen albums, both with band & solo, and this latest is a combination of the two and, he says, a culmination of his career. As if to remind us of his virtuosity, he opens with a jaw-dropping instrumental, “Butch Holler Stomp”. He follows that with a very different but equally amazing “Still On 101”. He doesn’t sing much but “How A Free Man Feels” shows he can do that very well when he wants to. Feeling trapped in a relationship is prime subject matter and he does not disappoint. “Now Vestapol” is an instrumental medley, one of whose pieces is the traditional “Prodigal Son” by Rev. Robert Wilkins, which may well be the best played version you’ll ever hear. “Darkest Road I’m Told” is a straight-ahead country blues, played on a National; as he sings various lines about crossroads and devils, he points out that the real Devil may be a personal one. “Three Times the Blues” is another fine medley, with bass & drums this time, possibly recorded live. “Confessin’ My Dues” is a well-chosen title song with nicely-written lyrics about repenting Sunday mornings. “Death of Blind Arthur” is his tribute to Blind Blake, also a legendary finger picker and another nicely done medley. He plays slide very well too, as his “High Desert Everywhere” will attest. “Keep Your Judgement” adds a little retro rock ‘n roll before another excellent instrumental takes us out. A beautifully recorded and superbly played acoustic blues album, check out www.terryrobb.com.