Preach to my Soul
Gypsy Soul Records
Ranking high on my list of the newest wave of blues artists is Canadian bluesman Spencer Mackenzie. While just in his mid-twenties, he’s already been nominated for multiple blues awards in Canada, and is bound to push the envelope even further in his career. His talent for playing guitar, songwriting, and singing runs quite deep and he seems to pour everything he has into each performance. Preach to My Soul, his third and latest release is a magnificent ten-track album produced by Emmy Award Winner and Juno Nominated Ross Hayes-Citrullo. Mackenzie’s band is comprised of Miles Evans on piano/Hammond organ/keys, Steve Pelletier and Stacey Shopsowitz on bass guitar, and Adam Cannon on drums
Mackenzie leads the record off in a glorious way with “Baptized by Cold Water”. I love his heavy guitar riffs as they intermingle with the swirling keys. The backing vocals of Chantal Williams adds a lovely and soulful touch to the song as well. I enjoy this track immensely. Following next is a fast-driving barn-burner called “No Good”. Mackenzie’s all-in, no-holds-barred approach is chockful of searing guitar licks. Cannon provides a thunderous pulse for the song to wrap itself around. “Can’t Do Right” has a bit of a Stevie Ray Vaughan vibe going as Mackenzie breaks out a big bowlful of Texas-style blues guitar. He sounds amazing. Hearing him take on Paul Simon’s “Paranoia Blues” was an unexpected pleasure. Greased up with a slab of slide from guest guitarist Steve Strongman and topped with a sprinkling of piano, the track absolutely smokes. Mackenzie releases his inner Seventies soul-man on “Your Turn to Cry”. His buttery vocals sound fantastic with the horn accompaniment of Julian Nalli on saxophone and Stephen Dyte on trumpet.
Preach to My Soul is one of those albums I can listen to over and over. It’s just so damn good. Spencer Mackenzie’s work keeps getting better and better. He is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.