[5_stars]

When you want a job done properly, it’s best to call out a living legend. Sixteen studio albums down the line and Robert Cray still manages to make playing the blues sound like child’s play.

The Robert Cray Band’s brand new album, Nothin But Love comprises ten songs that are as rich and as diverse in their intricacy as it’s possible to get.  Robert Cray, Jim Pugh, Richard Cousins and Tony Braunagel blend their respective instruments together so well and weave a tale of supreme blues together that the sound they create is nothing short of exquisite.

The songs may deal with the staple of blues, the meeting of disaster and fallout getting the better of triumph and ecstasy and the foolishness of love but delivered in the band’s indomitable style. The sound from each instrument raises the expectations of what is to come throughout the album and never once does it disappoint. In Robert’s hand the guitar really is not just another piece of mechanism to be played with frustratingly good abandon, each note is to be savoured and enjoyed.

The album is subtle; then again with Producer Kevin Shirley at the helm you really should expect nothing less. Recently Mr. Shirley has bought out the very best in Joe Bonamassa in a long line of studio albums and his latest recording Driving Towards The Daylight shows what Mr. Shirley can do by marrying his talent to that of Robert Cray and the band, they have created musical gold dust. Songs such as the opening track (Won’t Be) Coming Home, the excellent Side Dish and the exceptional Sadder Days give both producer and artist an album to be proud of and quite possibly the best album that Robert Cray has recorded since 2001’s Shoulda Been Home.

Alongside Joe Bonamassa’s Driving Towards The Daylight, Nothin But Love will be fighting it out for the honour of best blues album of the year. It’s a musical fight to relish.

Nothin But Love is released in the U.K. by Provogue Records on Monday 27th August.

Ian D. Hall