Ben Rice & Lucy Hammond – Destination Clarksdale

Ben Rice Lucy HammondBEN RICE & LUCY HAMMOND
Destination Clarksdale
Giddy Minion Records

An excellent bit of mostly acoustic, traditional roots-blues here from a Portland, Oregon-based duo with a clear understanding of the music and a passionate love of it. All five tracks on this EP are self-written and Hammond’s sultry vocal delivery matches the sensitive, soulful fretwork of Rice’s guitar. IBC finalists this year at Memphis, Rice and Hammond have been together for less than a handful of years, yet they have wonderful, consistent, tight sound that clearly belies their relative youth. From start to finish, this release sparkles with a shared chemistry and driving rootsy feel that sucks the listener in with ease.

The spaces between Rice’s notes also stand out at times, illustrating a confidence and competence that many blues bands with far greater experience together struggle to achieve. This is an album that merits repeat listening, never becoming wearisome or jaded. The ringing gospel tone of the third track, Wants Me Back Again, show a grasp of the importance and driving power of the gospel genre to propel an album along to great effect. Overall, this is a genuine quality bit of work, a little gem with glittering rewards for listeners and lovers of the more-traditional-roots end of the music.

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