Label: Free Flying Music
Album: Once A Rebel
Tracks : 10
I am a big fan of Victor Nesrallah ever since being introduced to his music via ' Collections: Roots, World, Folk, Blues ' and on this his latest release ' Once A Rebel ' he has not disappointed. It's another showcase of stellar songwriting, gritty performance and amazing musicianship.
For those not aware of his music I'd highly recommend tuning in to this collection from Ottawa based Victor Nesrallah, Victor’s compositions have been praised for their originality and hard-hitting message . A multi-instrumentalist with a mastery of guitar, comparisons range from Keb Mo' to Harry Manx and Bruce Coburn. He draws from the roots and world traditions to inspire his writing, arranging and live shows.
Victor's roots lie in folk and country rock, he stays true to that foundation of his musical past on this release and once again crosses genres with songs that fit seamlessly together with hints of swamp blues, americana and even a touch of bluegrass with celtic tinges on tracks with banjo and fiddle work being provided by Keith Snider, an Ottawa Valley mainstay in bluegrass circles and current bandmate.
This release really showcases the strengths of his arsenal, a great composer, wonderful arranger who has a fabulous ear for harmony., and one component that draws you in further is his art of storytelling. Each song has an element of telling a subjects story as with ' The Lion The Sheep and the Self Made Man ' based on the life story of his grandfather Alex, the song portrays the struggles of early nineteenth century immigrants to Canada, or the rendition and remake of his brother Stephan’s folk rock tune ' Lonely Times ' which portrays the struggles of life on the road for any travelling songwriter.
If blues is your thing then ' Once A Rebel ' gives a whole lot of bang for your buck with tracks paying homage to fingerstyle blues in the style of Mississippi John Hurt capturing the essence of that tradition with two ballad-like renderings in ' Driftin ' and ' Low Down Blues '.
There are ten tracks on the album, it's thoroughly captivating from start to finish with a magnificent blend of compositions, it's well produced as we've come to expect from Victor and each time I've gone back to listen I find another facet that I had missed previously.
A highly recommended release that will pull you in with intrigue throughout, the lyrical content is compelling and the musicianship and arrangements are top class. ' Once A Rebel ' might just be his best release to date.