Deep bluesman Ryan Lee Crosby traveled from his native Boston to Memphis, TN to record his upcoming album, the dirty, electric Winter Hill Blues. With a street date of June 14th, 2022 via Crossroad Records, Winter Hill Blues was produced by Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson, famed for producing albums for Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside. The result is the best work of Crosby’s career.
Already, Crosby has toured Germany multiple times, played the Deep Blues Fest and Juke Joint Fest in Clarksdale, MS, and taped an episode of the syndicated radio show Beale Street Caravan (which airs on over 100 stations).
Perhaps most significantly, for a musician who focuses on the North Mississippi and Bentonia blues styles respectively, he has spent serious time with musicians like Grammy nominated Jimmy “Duck” Holmes,” who has served as a mentor to Ryan.
The reason this premiere is so early is due to the fact that today Crosby is playing at Holmes’ famed Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia for its anniversary party. Ryan is also scheduled to appear with Holmes and Shawn Marsh at the Green Room at Crosstown Arts in Memphis on October 9th. For anyone in the area, these are don’t miss shows.
On “Down So Long,” Crosby is joined by Memphis’ George Sluppick (JJ Grey & Mofro, Albert King) on drums and Mark Edgar Stuart (Jack Oblivian, Alvin Youngblood Hart) on bass.
Lyrically, ‘Down So Long’ is an acknowledgement of the truth of suffering. The melodies derive equal inspiration from the North Mississippi blues of Robert Belfour and the songs of Malian singer/guitarist Boubacar Traoré. The guitar on this track is a joyful imagining of what a musical conversation between these two artists might sound like, filtered through the feeling of my playing. – Ryan Lee Crosby