DarrellMansfield AloneIf you're a blues fan, I Am Not Alone is the Darrell Mansfield album you need to own. This one's got the goods...

I Am Not Alone
Darrell Mansfield
indie / Son Records
10 tracks / 61:31

Darrell Mansfield - master harmonica player, CCM veteran, and bona fide blues man – has put out another fine collection of blues tracks called I Am Not Alone. Of course, a Darrell Mansfield blues album should not come as a surprise to anyone who's been following Mansfield's career, but what makes I Am Not Alone stand out is that it's perhaps the artist's most universally accessible blues project he's ever done. The gospel message is in there but it never feels like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Whether you're a believer that loves the blues or a non-believer needing a blues fix, this album will do the trick.

Handling all of the lead vocals as well as (of course) the sizzling harmonica solos, Mansfield leads a killer band through ten tracks brimming with blues-rock energy. With bass shared by Bryan Edgell and Mark Dekkers, Brian Waterbury on rhythm guitar, Mitch Ross on drums and the fiery lead guitar of Jan-Peter Beijersbergen, the album has a real house-band feel to it, and this is a band you want to spend some time with! With several tracks lasting six to eight minutes plus, there's plenty of room for the band to stretch out and jam – and jam, they do! Beijersbergen is a guitarist that can wail with the best of them and he's an excellent musical foil for Mansfield's harmonica.

The track list contains many familiar standards, all handled well. From the straight-ahead blues of "Honey Hush," "Crossroads," and "Going Down," to the down 'n dirty gospel of "Jesus Left Chicago" to the lofty "All Along the Watchtower" (which gets a somehow fitting spoken description of Jesus right out of the Book of Revelation), Mansfield and his band don't stray from a bluesy center, even managing to breath fiery life into another "House of the Rising Son / Amazing Grace" pairing.

From a purely musical standpoint, if you're a blues fan, I Am Not Alone is the Darrell Mansfield album you need to own. This one's got the goods without compromise.

-Bert Saraco