Blue Groove 2320
Traveling troubadour Hans Theessink has had a deep love affair with American roots music for a long while. In a brief note accompanying his track-by-track commentary here he reflectively admits to being “particularly taken and touched by the rich sounds that originated in the Southern United States – the folk, roots and blues music from that part of the world has been a source of inspiration for me since I first picked up the guitar some fifty years ago.” The set list for his 19th Blue Groove project is a vibrant mix of originals and covers, recorded live in 2011 at two locations in Vienna, Austria, that gives him plenty of room to demonstrate his mastery of not only the 5- and 6-string banjo, mandolin, mandola, mandocello and harmonica but various guitars as well. Extra coloring is added on a few numbers by mood-enhancing pedal steel guitarist David Pearlman – versions of both the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” and Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village-era narrative “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” particularly benefit. Not to overlook Theessink’s tradition-grounded originals – especially the relaxingly patterned title song (composed in Southern India), a haunting gambling number called “Hellbound” (written after a fishing trip with Townes van Zandt) and a topical commentary about high water and flooding titled “New Home Upon The Hill. Imagine a combination of the fore-mentioned van Zandt and Eric von Schmidt at their most impassioned and you’d be close to Theessink’s intrinsically fortifying sound. An invigorating follow-up to his internationally acclaimed 2011 Delta Time duet disc with Terry Evans.
— Gary von Tersch