Our Daily Bread

17 05 2007

Corey Harris

COREY HARRIS
Daily Bread (Rounder)

The most profound things come simply. Corey Harris understands this maxim, as his blues-based foundation allows him to tinker with other influences while keeping it rooted in the pentatonic tradition. He dove deeply into this exploration on 2003’s Mississippi to Mali, an American take on Malian blues so seamless country and culture was rendered insignificant. What mattered then, as on Daily Bread, is the untainted poetry of Harris’ welcoming voice backed by acoustic guitar flourishes. This doesn’t stop him from throttling into amplified territory – the rock-based reggae-tinged “Lamb’s Bread” is one of the record’s standouts – but when he quiets it to a hush, you receive the full-on experience. He steps lightly into Ben Harper territory (the playful “I See Your Face”) and gets down-home (“A Nickel and a Nail”). Two tracks with guest trumpeter Olu Dara prove the most inventive: the spoken word “Mami Wata” and 10-minute “The Peach” turn crooner into bard. On the latter, Dara ingeniously wraps a biblical story into a soulful soliloquy, tracing the genre’s roots behind gospel and spirituals to griot territory. Harris sees history in the rearview and, more importantly, a boundless expanse straight ahead. – Derek Beres

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