Louisiana slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth releases his 11th album on the 28th May 2012. Distinct from his previous albums, Elemental Journey is Sonny’s first all-instrumental outing and features a stellar guest line-up including Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and steel drum master Robert Greenidge. With Landreth as producer and engineer Tony Daigle on the mixing desk, the album also includes drummers Brian Brignac, Doug Belote and Mike Burch working with Sonny’s long-time band members, bass player Dave Ranson and keyboardist Steve Conn.
Elemental Journey draws on a wide range of styles, from blues, rock and jazz to Jamaican-inspired grooves as well as Spanish and zydeco influences, varying the mood of each piece. “From day one on the guitar, many genres of music have had an impact on me” says Landreth. “For these recordings, I drew from some of those influences that I hadn’t gone to on previous albums with my vocals. Trading off the lyrics this time, I focused solely on the instrumental side and all this music poured out. Then I asked some extraordinary musicians to help me layer the tracks in hopes of inspiring a lot of imagery for the listeners.”
Listen to opening track Gaia Tribe below featuring Joe Satriani.
“One of the things I’ve always loved about a good instrumental song is that it can be more impressionistic and abstract,” Landreth notes. “Though melody is always important, it’s even more significant with an instrumental. So what I wanted to achieve was something more thematic with lots of melodies and with a chordal chemistry that was harmonically rich. That’s when I got the idea to treat the arrangements with more layering and to have the melodies interweave like conversations. I also wanted it to be more diverse, to not adhere to any categories. I wanted to leave it wide open to possibility.”
“What I’d hoped to end up creating was sonic stories without words,” he says. “And because there are no lyrics, it’s really important to connect on an emotional level. All of the titles for these songs have meaning for me — some of them are impressions from post-Katrina, Rita, the Gulf Spill, friends of mine and their experiences — so that’s part of it too. Still, I want listeners to feel something that resonates with them personally. I’ve always tried to make music that had depth in that way. It’s a challenge but when it works, it’s more compelling because it engages you on a deeper level.”