In the small world of virtuoso frum musicians, Lazer Lloyd stands tall. The blues guitarist, a veteran of Yood, Reva L’Sheva and Carlebach, has been making serious waves. He is routinely numbered among Israel’s top guitarists, and with his latest album, “Lost on the Highway”, he’s been turning heads in the secular world as well – the album has had singles featured prominently on secular radio stations in the US and England.
“Lost” is different than Lloyd’s other offerings – it features just him and his acoustic sound (guitar and harmonica), with his own deeply moody blues compositions. His reflections are dark, but with tinges of light breaking through.
While two songs (the title track and Higher Ground) have been recorded elsewhere (both on Yood’s Passin’ Over), the bulk of the album is new and original material. Lloyd ventures between his spiritual yearnings and real, earthy human issues. What comes out is a man who is a seeker, and his guitar a philosopher. His rhythms are solid, as always; although occasionally, I find myself wishing for more guitar and less vocals – often the guitar goes to deeper places than his lyrics can possibly go.
The best tracks are Lost – a live version of the song, in which you can feel the full resonance of his playing with a stunning performance. Higher Ground, World Fallin’ On Me, Mirror and Been Trying are all pleasingly relate-able – with that questioning, probing, wondering searching soul of the blues. Back Porch is another excellent piece showcasing his acoustic flexibility and full sound; while Riverside exhibits poignant passion.
The album has a few tracks that could have been developed as well, though. Swamp Meditation is a sullen instrumental, and with Lazer’s talent, I’d have thought he could draw the ideas out further. Politician Blues was a great idea, but comes out as overwrought; a full-throated railing that should have been witty and subtle.
Overall, Lost on the Highway is an album born of Americana, formed by Jewish soul searching, and brought to life by a master.
Check out the superb sounds of Lazer Lloyd and tracks from this and other albums on his website, www.LazerLloyd.com!
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