Sonny Landreth releases ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette,’ will perform at World Cafe Live

Sonny Landreth is shown in concert.
Sonny Landreth is shown in concert. PHOTO BY Marco-van-Rooijen/COURTESY OF SONNY LANDRETH
Sonny Landreth will be at World Cafe Live on July 20.
Sonny Landreth will be at World Cafe Live on July 20. PHOTO BY TravisGauthier/COURTESY OF SONNY LANDRETH

IF YOU GO

What: Sonny Landreth Album Release Show with Western Centuries

When: Concert is on Thursday, July 20 at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7.

Where: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

Tickets: $28 + fees at www.worldcafelive.com or by calling 215-222-1400

Ages: All Ages

Artist’s website: www.sonnylandreth.com

Legendary guitarist Sonny Landreth has just released “Recorded Live in Lafayette” (Provogue, 2017), a career retrospective that comes as close as possible to capturing the iconic guitarist’s depth and musical diversity. Landreth will bring his trio to World Cafe Live on July 20th to perform selections from the album and more.

Landreth is a rare breed of guitarist who has mastered both the acoustic and electric guitar. And though he is known as a blues artist, his passion for music began with rock and his upbringing in Louisiana exposed him to a variety of music from Cajun and Creole culture as well as jazz and R&B, earning him the nickname the ‘King of Slydeco.’

Landreth discussed his career, the landmark new release and the upcoming show in a telephone interview from his home in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, near where the album was recorded.

“I started out on acoustic guitar,” said Landreth. “That was my first real guitar. I was 13. By the time I was 14, I miraculously talked my parents into getting me an electric guitar, too. That was always my first love, probably because of Scotty Moore in Elvis Presley’s band. He made me want to play the electric guitar, and the Beatles made me want to play in a band. That’s kind of how it got started for me.”

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He added: “My folks (and I) would go back and forth to New Orleans a lot, so that’s when I first heard jazz and R&B, and second line rhythm,” explained Landreth. “Then when I got into the blues, that’s when I began to put some of these different elements together. When I started playing slide guitar, that gave me a way to crystallize it all in such a way as to find my sound, and find my own voice with it all.”

Landreth listened to Chet Atkins records and tried to imitate his style, admitting that his early attempts at playing slide “were quite painful” for everyone who heard him. His persistence mastering slide guitar certainly paid off, though he continued to play regular guitar and did a lot of flat picking too.

Over the years Landreth recorded and toured with zydeco king Clifton Chenier, singer-songwriter John Hiatt and many other notables. “Recorded Live in Lafayette” – a 16-song opus – is his thirteenth album and is unlike any of his previous recorded work.

“I’m really excited about this new release,” said Landreth. “It’s (my) first official double album. One disc is all acoustic and one is all electric. That’s how we performed it. We came out and would start with the acoustic set, take a short break, then return to the stage and amp it up, which worked great for dynamics. It was a really effective way to make an interesting evening for people.”

Landreth is accompanied by his longtime bandmates Dave Ransom (bass) and Brian Brignac (drums and percussion) as well as special guests Steve Conn on keyboards and Sam Broussard on guitar for more musical depth.

Landreth, Ransom and Brignac road-tested the material as a trio for about a month prior to the recording to get comfortable with it. Conn and Broussard were brought in the day before recording, so there was a spontaneous feel, which Landreth wanted.

“It’s a retrospective of songs from different periods of my career, which is real personal for me,” explained Landreth. “Maybe it’s another step in the way of making it more personal for the audience, too. I hope that for those who are already fans, or are familiar with my work, that they’ll appreciate the different treatment of these songs, in particular with the acoustic side. Then, at the same time, I hope that for newcomers it will be a good introduction, kind of an overview, in a way.”

He added: “The cool thing about doing a live album is that energy that is embodied in those recordings. I think people really relate to that. That included the audience, as a hometown crowd, because there’s nothing like that. I do feel like once you snag that a bit, you capture that feel, you bring that back out onto the road, and it’s certainly been reflected in the shows we’ve been playing. It’s been awesome.”

Landreth said that the performance at World Cafe Live will mimic the format of the album – an acoustic set followed by an electric set. As always, he will be accompanied by Ransom and Brignac.

The show will include a lot of the songs on the album but there will be some surprises. Landreth said that he thinks it’s important for both the band and the audience to change a few songs each night.