Colin Linden – From the Water

January 01, 1970

(True North)


A journeyman musician in the most genuine sense of the word,
Colin Linden’s contributions have been heard on over a hundred different albums,
the majority of which have emanated from our neighbor to the north.  Not surprisingly then, Linden’s earned an
enviable reputation as a go-to guy when it comes to adept guitar play, a
performer who can lend just the right touch to any folk or blues infused
mélange.  Yet while his calling card has
generally been in the efforts he’s exerted for others – Emmylou Harris, Lucinda
Williams and Bruce Cockburn are among those that have utilized his services –
Linden’s legacy also includes eleven albums of his own as well as his
contributions to Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, a Canadian super group of sorts
that includes fellow singer/songwriters Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing and an
ample resume of their own.


Despite such stellar accomplishments, Linden’s solo albums
haven’t always garnered the recognition they deserve, partly because he’s never
really shown the inclination to boost himself as a solo star and also because
he tends to hew towards the basics when it comes to his blues-based material.  Likewise, From
the Water
doesn’t really pull him in any different directions; in fact, the
reliance on a standard template of boogie and bluesy shuffles informs the album
overall.  If there’s any change of tone
it resides in the lingering influence of the late Richard Bell, the keyboardist
behind Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band, the post-Robbie Robertson
incarnation of the Band and a Linden collaborator for the better part of two
decades.  One of the more telling songs
of the set, “Trouble Only Comes in 3’s,” is a Bell co-composition, but Linden’s
soulful suggestion – as evidenced on “The Heaven Me,” “Between the Darkness and
the Light of Day,” and “John Lennon in New Orleans” — derives some
significance from Bell’s absence and untimely passing.


Other influences also abound, with the solitary spirits of
Van Morrison, Dr. John and the late Richard Manuel echoing through songs that
find faith in perseverance and salvation in navigating the bleakest of
circumstance.  From the Water may not make Linden a star, but it does reflect the
fact that he’s a musical master of enviable repute.

Standout Tracks: “Between the
Darkness and the Light of Day,” “John Lennon in New Orleans” LEE ZIMMERMAN




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