River of Time
As a rock n' roll veteran who made his first splash with the psychedelic power of the Jefferson Airplane, Jorma Kaukonen has spent most of his career exploring the folk and blues that served as his initial inspiration. Whether with Hot Tuna or as a solo artist, Kaukonen has let his guitar picking do much of his talking, as his voice is of limited yet solid range, and this often works to his advantage. He writes songs to suit his strengths and picks covers with strong resonance, choosing for this 2009 collection tunes from bluesmen Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis and country legend Merle Haggard. The Band drummer Levon Helm provided the recording studio and joins in on drums. Producer Larry Campbell from Bob Dylan's band joins alongside mandolin expert Barry Mitterhoff to enhance the intimate, homespun acoustic vibe. Whether it's the Grateful Dead's "Operator," Davis' "There's a Bright Side Somewhere," or the standard "Trouble In Mind," Kaukonen plays everything with an unquestionable authority that places him as a premier blues practitioner.