Reviewed by: Lauren Rosier
The Blues Music Award winner, singer/songwriter Eric Bibb, returns with his latest album, Migration Blues (Stony Plain Records)- a 15-track collection of insightful and timely songs.
On Migration Blues, Bibb focuses mainly on themes of oppression, crime, violence, and peace. The backing band features Michael Jerome Browne (guitars/vocals/banjos/mandolin/triangle) and JJ Milteau (harmonica). Bibb, Browne, and Milteau produced the record.
The record opens with “Refugee Moan” – a song about the experience of being a refugee in today’s crazy world. Then on “Delta Getaway,” he’s “prayin’ to Jesus/I don’t wake up dead/saw a man hanging from a cypress tree/I seen the ones who done it/now they’re comin’ after me.”
On “We Had to Move,” Bibb delivers an upbeat, yet sad story where a family was forced to move out of their family home in Ellington. The government forced people out of their homes and “everybody had to pack and go/because the government said so” and when they found out “the rumors turned to fact/and the whole town had to pack/all the white folks/and the black/we had to move.”
Bibb’s version of the already-amazing Bob Dylan track, “Masters of War,” is a solid version that allows him to put his own spin on it and add his own flavor. The record also features another cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
He turns to peace and love on the track “Brotherly Love” where he sings “I believe we can save/our ship/though it’s sinking/I believe we can change/the way we’ve been thinking/and before it’s too late/replace fear and hate/with brotherly love.”
Bibb is one of the most influential blues artist in the genre. Migration Blues showcases his gritty, bluesy, and soulful vocals while simultaneously showcasing his instrumental talent on guitars, a six-string banjo, and a contraband guitar.
This album is a solid set of well-written and arranged tracks and an incredible ode to different themes relevant to today’s society. From refugees, war and violence to peace, Bibb understands the importance of talking about these issues, and he does it well on Migration Blues.