The last time that Franc Robert showed his acoustic side was on 2011’s well received Why Do I Ever Win. Since then Franc has issued Mulligan Stew in 2012, and now he returns to his acoustic side with Ride The Iron Road, on Blue Chihuahua Records. At 41 minutes Ride The Iron Road shows off 11 originals and three traditional blues cuts.
As an acoustic set, the simplicity of the presentation really adds to the impact of the music, with only Franc and his guitar(s) painting vivid images, as this Florida native is so talented at doing. The sound is clear and unadorned, allowing the music to stand on its own merit. While very satisfying all the way through, we found a few selections particularly interesting.
“Chihuahua Blues” reminded us a lot of “Rambling On My Mind,” in a pleasing way, and “Dem Devil Bones” is a brisk paced George Thorogood inspired acoustic romp that will have listeners slapping their knees to the beat. “Mississippi On My Mind” is simply great picking, superbly played. “Railroad Blues” is fast paced pickin’ and slidin’ fun. “St. James Infirmary Blues” is a really interesting performance, presented here as a shuffle, and almost upbeat.
Ride The Iron Road is an album best enjoyed when listeners want a break form the loud brashness of an electric blues set, and instead want to enjoy a more quiet and intimate blues experience.