Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt- Slide to Freedom 2: Make a Better World The initial collaboration between slide guitarist Cox and stavik veena master Bhatt was one of my favourite albums of the previous decade. It slapped me upside the head with its blending of sounds and genres. I missed out on this one- for some reason I wasn’t serviced with it- and I never bothered buying it, figuring I’d find it used somewhere, someday. But I didn’t. With my weekly watching of Treme, I’ve been intrigued by the theme song and one morning this week recognized the singer’s voice when I heard a version of “City of New Orleans” played on CKUA- John Boutté. A Google search confirmed his connection to Treme and continued investigation brought up not only an album I downloaded from eMusic, but Boutte’s involvement with this collection. Yes, Vancouver Island meets up with India and New Orleans! I recalled considering  Slide to Freedom 2 on a previous visit to the downtown Calgary, so while there this weekend I searched it out. Not as immediately arresting as the first volume, but that has more to do with the lack of surprise this one holds. The addition of Boutté’s voice to the proceedings provides another interesting element. By the time they work out on “Freedom Raga,” I’m in another world. Their rendition of “Amazing Grace”- Boutté’s soulful voice working with the unusual (in a gospel/soul context) sounds of the veena, brings down the house. (More about my strange affinity for gospel music later.) It is on the longer tracks when the music is most trance-inducing that the power of the Cox-Bhatt collaboration is most apparent.” - Donald Teplyske

Fervour Coulee Roots Music Blog

DOUG COX AND SALIL BHATT  Slide to Freedom 2:  Make a Better World  NorthernBlues 0053  T  he slide has made some intriguing in-  roads in global music. King Sunny Ade  redefined Nigerian music by creating Juju,  partly inspired by the Hawaiian style of  playing. Chinese folk artists run slides  over whatever strings they can think of,  and Indian musicians have invented some  of the most intriguing instruments on the  planet. Salil Bhatt's veena-meets-arch-  top-guitar is no exception. The cross be-  tween the resonant delicacies of a sitar  with a bluesy edge and Canada's Doug  Cox's gadgie works beautifully. The first  edition of Slide to Freedom was a treat.  With their latest, the duo's relationship has  deepened, and so has the music. John  Boutte's vocal contributions add lyrical  strength to the otherwise instrumental al-  bum, especially on the Gospel-influenced  Make a Better World" - Gospel referring  more to the lyric's intention than to a spe-  cific style of song. For that, think blues.  The addition of bass player Dinah D to this  album roots the songs nicely. Tabla player  Ramkumar Mishra slides his two-drum set  gorgeously, especially when given room to  wander, as with "A Letter Home" and  Blessings." The duo takes on the classic  Amazing Grace," reminding one of Ben  Harper's slide-fueled tendencies meeting  the Blind Boys of Alabama's Gospel -  Dinah D joins forces with Michael  Wrycraft for harmony vocals. More than  anything, the listener can literally hear the  fun these musicians must have had while  creating this inspired album. This series  is one we certainly hope continues. - DB” - DB

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