Damon Fowler, Sounds of Home (Blind Pig Records)

Damon Fowler, Sounds of Home, album cover, OffBeat Magazine, February, 2014

Guitarist Damon Fowler has taken a break from his group Southern Hospitality to record the understated-yet-energetic blues record Sounds of Home. It’s an appropriate title in that Fowler sounds comfortable and relaxed in this set of mostly original cuts spiced with a couple covers. There is good variety of songs here from lamenting ballads to more upbeat blues. Fowler’s voice is not a conventional-sounding one; it has a tight timbre that almost breaks at certain points. This adds to the emotion of his songs without taking them over the top. His guitar playing has that same quality. It is excellent without showing off or overpowering the rest of the arrangements. Producer Tab Benoit adds a slightly swampy, roadhouse feel to the sound that gives a South Louisiana groove to the proceedings here. The album’s title also makes sense in that there is a theme of home and the realization of how home and the places one comes from can influence the present and the future both in good and bad ways. The title track and “Where I Belong” show the good. “Grit My Teeth,” “Old Fools, Bar Stools, and Me,” and his version of Elvis Costello’s “Alison” give an image of what might not be so good. However, in the end, one can only do so much to change such things, as Fowler’s simple take on “I Shall Not Be Moved” indicates. And when it comes to a record such as Sounds of Home, a listener should not want to change a thing.