Peter Novelli’s third album kicks off with a bang with guest Sonny Landreth’s signature slide guitar on “Louisiana Sunrise.” It’s a riveting road song with Novelli driving all night to return to his adopted New Orleans.
Several tracks make for great road fodder as well, such as the shuffling “I-10 Boogie,” the funky “Boudin” and the country picking of “Shreveport Stomp” that pays homage to guitar legend James Burton and quotes a few of his riffs. Even the pensive “Story in Your Mind” alludes to the life on the road and its difficulty in maintaining relationships.
As a guitarist, Novelli never overpowers, but carefully crafts his solos with ample individual expression and varying shades and textures. Extended jamming often results, but it’s hardly self-indulgent or monotonous.
He’s also the rare guitarist who’s in touch with his zydeco side. Two tracks feature former Bourbon Street combatant Sammy Naquin, while two others find Chubby Carrier leading the charge, especially on the rollicking “Zydeco Ride” where he puts on a clinic of torrid old school jamming. Novelli’s best groove-bound CD yet.