Street Sounds: Artist has blues in his soul

Al Lukas: In My Soul

Al Lukas brings his gritty

Al Lukas brings his gritty

Kapuskasing native  Al Lukas is an old school musician across the board:  touring in a van, booking shows as he goes, and (most apparent here) releasing spontaneous feel-based recordings.

Lukas sets up songs, brings in the players (usually just bass and drums), and goes.

In My Soul is Lukas’ third recording and showcases two things thoroughly:  Lukas’ guitar skills (acoustic and electric) and his rough whiskey-toned voice.

It’s his vocal performance that elevates the bare bones, blues/rock songs that Lukas and company knock off.

The material takes its cue from the vocal and stays close to a gritty core (The Answer, Wild Child). The drive within the songs, coupled with the exuberant wailing of Lukas’ axe, makes them appealing on a straight ahead level. There’s no showboating, wanking or posturing here that can sometimes plague a genre noted for over-the-top hero poses.

A touch of the low-down lurks in Lukas’ sound.  It’s Not Hard (It’s Simple) keeps the rough-and-tumble edges slightly affray –– a dark take on a Randy Bachman style jazz/blues feel.

The path grows darker but not down on some of Lukas’ acoustic cuts (In My Soul and One True Friend) –– moody songs that take in atmosphere and release it easily.

No frills; the mood is deep; the vibe is strong and Lukas’ voice rocks.

–– Dean Gordon-Smith is The Morning Star’s music reviewer. His column, Street Sounds, appears every Friday.

Calling all musicians with NEW CDs.

The Morning Star’s music columnist, Dean Gordon-Smith, is accepting submissions for review. (Professionally packaged recordings only, please.) Bring or send them to The Morning Star, c/o Kristin Froneman, Arts Editor, 4407-25th Ave., Vernon, B.C., V1T 1P5