For four decades, singer-songwriter-guitarist Eric Bibb has criss-crossed the globe, captivating live audiences by bearing witness to the infinite complexities of the human experience – both the mundane and the spiritual – with music that’s steeped in the tradition of American blues and layered with generous shades of folk and gospel. He is, in every respect, a modern-day troubadour – heir to the legacy of Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Odetta and countless other great voices of the early and mid-20th century.
Bibb’s new recording, Troubadour Live, captures one of those powerful live performances in an intimate but emotionally charged setting.
“After many ambitious studio albums, I really wanted to document and share with a wider audience what I’d been doing live on stage,” says Bibb. “Given my intensive touring schedule over the past couple years, there was a window of opportunity to involve some fine musicians whom I really love working with live as well as in the studio, and it all seemed to come together around this gig.”
Among these “fine musicians” is Swedish guitarist Staffan Astner, who has recorded and/or performed with a list of artists from every corner of the world and every style imaginable. Some of Astner’s past collaborators include Ray Charles, Ian Hunter, Celine Dion, Kim Richey, Roxette and many others.
Also on hand are Glen Scott, Andre De Lange and Paris Renita, the gospel trio collectively known as Psalm4. Over the years, Bibb has worked with all three vocalists individually and as a group on previous recordings and stage performances. “Knowing how well we’ve worked together in the past, I asked them to join me for a few of the tunes in this performance,” says Bibb. “It was a nice way to reconnect with some old friends.”
“A live record is a way to give people a sense of the way an artist communicates with his or her audience,” says Bibb. “I think this record does that. It’s intimate, and that’s a big part of what I like to do. I play in front of larger crowds sometimes, but I think my forte is being able to get close to an audience on a given evening and deliver a message that they can take with them after they leave. I think Troubadour Live captures that moment of connection.”