An artist who’s flown well under the radar for a while, Franco-American musician and singer Cory Seznec’s third full-length album comes after a gap of five years. Although he recorded all his tracks in just three days (with a couple of friends over spare overdubs later), there’s never a sense of anything being hurried here. It’s all performed with touching good grace, and a warm, inviting voice that at times sounds remarkably like the tenor saxophone slur of early 1970s John Martyn. That’s most notable on the traditional “Been All Around This World,” just one of many nods to the blues here.
Seznec is an outstanding fingerpicker on both guitar and banjo, always assured, completely at home in the blues, yet never sounding like any of the earlier generations of performers. There’s a lightness of touch in his performance that’s immediately appealing, and more than a few touches of West African music in his work, too, particularly on “Msichana Auma Variations,” a delicious and far too brief excursion into palm wine music.
But in spite of digressions into gospel (“Roll The Old Chariot Along”) and soul (the dreadfully-named “Peasant Under Grass”), this is very much a blues album. Classy and sophisticated in a way that belies the quick recording, and with a natural lightness and pleasure to the sound, rather than any dark and desperate blues. In its own quiet way, Eyes On The Rise is a real joy, and Seznec is definitely a talent to be reckoned with.
Find the artist online.