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Go to the Jimmy Ågren website  Jimmy Ågren - Various Phobias [Garageland Records - 2008]

The blues usually concerns heartache, loss and pain, whether it be inflicted on you by others or that of existence itself. Swedish slide-virtuoso Jimmy Ågren takes a different route. His brand of blues is upbeat, uplifting and vibrant with energy.

‘Boogie’ would be a word that would be more fitting I guess, as the bluesscales are pack and parcel to the genre but without the tears. Compared to the previous album, Close Enough For Jazz, Various Phobias is much more songbased. Most songs feature vocals which makes it a little less over-the-top and easier to digest. Not that there’s no room for highspeed hallucinatory trips like Goodnight Austin Texas anymore, but it’s followed up by the gentle acoustics of 554023. Blues or boogie, Ågren injects it with something extra which may be traced down to jazz, or jazzrock/fusion even. A hiccuping rhythm in what otherwise would be straightforward blues in the titletrack is what makes this extra entertaining for the folks that don’t limit themselves to straightforwardness, but like to be teased or put on the wrong foot every now and then. This way the amazing skills are put to use without becoming overtly technical. The CD doesn’t give any info on who’s playing on it apart from Jimmy Ågren, so I wonder if this is truely a solo project. If so, it’s even more amazing.

Various Phobias is surely a step into more listenerfriendly territory, amazing mastery of the instruments is paired with solid songwriting without throwing all complexity overboard. All is captured accurately on tape (to use an archaic expression) maintaining the youthful energy in this old blues‘n’boogie. There will be a live dvd available for download soon (for free!).

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

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