The Same Light
Back when I lived in southern Alberta, one of the highlights of every summer was the South County Fair in Ft. Mcleod. One of the mainstays at pretty much every edition of the fair was Lester Quitzau. Quitzau, a long time resident of Alberta, plays a style of blues very unique to the genre. Blending in styles of acoustic folk and jazz, Quitzau is a master of his guitar and a consummate professional and performer, having earned a Juno for his work with the world/blues trio Tri-Continental. While perfectly capable of playing a balls-out electric blues tune, Quitzau's style of understated guitar playing is remarkable in both its craftsmanship and its slow bluesy groove. One can almost picture him leaning back on a wooden chair on a porch somewhere in rural Alberta, playing along and tapping his foot. The best tracks on The Same Light are the instrumental pieces. “Shape Shifter” is one of the more solid blues tracks on the album. “Ferris Wheel“ is a more jazzy number, recalling some of the more accessible work of Bill Frisell. On the roots end, “The Only Cure“ and his cover of Pete Seeger's “To My Old Brown Earth” are standouts. It's fitting that the album fades out to the song of frogs chirping. Just like those times at the South County Fair, Quitzau's music lulls you into a warm place, as you imagine the sun going down with him on stage, birds and dust in the air painting the whole scene in orange.
By Steve Marlow
Jun 11, 2009
CD REVIEW: Lester Quitzau - The Same Light
By Chip Withrow - 03/11/2009 - 05:33 PM EDT
Artist: Lester Quitzau
Album: The Same Light
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: Robbie Robertson/The Band, Van Morrison
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: The Only Cure, Let It Shine, Shape Shifter
CD Review: I have been listening to Lester Quitzau’s fine new album The Same Light for a few weeks now. I have enjoyed it greatly, but until now it has been hard for me to put into words why I like it.
Well, it has finally become clear why I dig Quitzau's music so much. One of my favorite tracks, “The Only Cure,” is a one-song showcase for what makes Quitzau so compelling: it is a hippie/soul anthem, fusing bluesy Americana with horns and building to a grand show finale-worthy instrumental conclusion.
“In Your Arms” opens the set with a laid-back yet deep groove. Quitzau himself layers electric guitar and dobro licks atop acoustic strumming. His vocal is unassuming yet heartfelt here and throughout the disc.
“These Blues” and “Find My Way Home” sound like three friends having a comfortable musical conversation. Quitzau’s playing toes the line between jazz and blues, and Rick May’s acoustic bass is slippery. Multi-instrumentalist Joby Baker (bass and keyboards on other tracks, co-producer along with Quitzau) provides the drum backbone.
The lush, pretty soul ballad “Let It Shine” is another favorite. It is uplifiting, lifted even higher by Mae Moore’s backing vocal and washes of Baker’s Hammond organ. It is followed by the slinky, funky “Shape Shifter,” the best of three instrumentals, with Quitzau firing off wicked electric and slide riffs.
Quitzau wrote or co-wrote all songs with the exception of “The Only Cure” and the closer, Pete Seeger’s “To My Old Brown Earth.” It is a lovely conclusion, built upon Baker’s lower-register piano chords. Quitzau adds a meditative vocal and sympathetic slide guitar.
Lester Quitzau’s music has the rustic appeal of artists such as Van Morrison and Robbie Robertson, and I find myself appreciating The Same Light even more with repeated listens.