Matt Schofield: Far As I Can See (Provogue Records)
Matt Schofield has been hailed as one of the U.K.’s finest bluesmen, winning award after major award. But, as he so convincingly demonstrates on his fifth album, Far As I Can See, he’s moved well beyond that limited realm. Traditional blues rockers like “Clean Break,” the rollicking “Tell Me Some Lies” and the groovy instrumental “Oakville Shuffle” have their place here, but “From Far Away,” inspired by astronomer Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” theories, smokes ’em all. Schofield sings the lyrics (light years away from standard blues themes) in a voice that slightly echoes Paul Rodgers before the song takes off on a Southern joyride that sounds like Gregg and Duane Allman jamming somewhere between here and heaven. Schofield also appears to be right at home performing covers of Albert King’s disturbing “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” and the Neville Brothers’ soulful and sexy “Yellow Moon”—both of which slide seamlessly into Far As I Can See and become his own.