By Barry Gilbert
Of the Post-Dispatch


February 3, 2005

Sonny Landreth
"Grant Street"
Sugar Hill

Fans of the electric guitar can name the great players within a couple of notes. Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), Richard Thompson and B.B. King, for instance, sound like nobody else. Louisiana's Sonny Landreth is on that list, too, with his inventive and percussive slide-guitar style.

The co-writer of the Cajun anthem "Congo Square" has played and recorded with Gov't Mule and Jimmy Buffett, and, most notably, in the Goners, backing up John Hiatt with schoolboy chum David Ranson on bass and Kenneth Blevins on drums. But Landreth's solo recordings, which date back to the '70s and span "Nawlins" music from the traditional to the funky, have been criminally overlooked, save for a Grammy nomination for 2003's "The Road We're On."

On Landreth's new CD, the Goners take to the stage at the Grant Street Dancehall in Lafayette, La., for a live album spanning Landreth's catalog plus three new songs.

The Cajun power trio roars through 11 Landreth originals, including standouts "Native Stepson," "Gone Pecan," "Blues Attack," "U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile" and "Congo Square," as well as the new song "Pedal to the Metal." The amps are turned up to 11, and the blazing results are offered with no studio overdubs or sweetening.

That may be the record's one shortcoming: a lack of nuance. Landreth is capable of playing it delicate, and a ballad, a waltz and a couple of two-steps might have better framed the ferocity of the rockers.

But that's just a quibble. Pop this CD into your party or car player and let the bon temps roule.