On One Night in America
, Charlie Musselwhite takes his music back home to the Memphis of his childhood, walking down some blues-drenched country roads along the way. Musselwhite, with strong assistance from guitarists G.E. Smith and Robben Ford
, as well as from vocalists Kelly Willis
and Christine Ohlman
, creatively captures the sonic sensibilities of the Memphis musical melting pot with a wide-ranging selection of songs. Musselwhite rolls through everything from Johnny Cash
's country classic "Big River" to bluesman Jimmy Reed
's "Ain't That Loving You Baby" in fine fashion, spicing up the tunes with occasional harp solos, but primarily letting the songs stand on their own.
Austin country sweetheart Willis dazzles on a duet of Kieran Kane's "In a Town This Size" and lends some angelic accompaniment on the country gospel standard "Rank Strangers to Me" to provide some vocal diversity. Musselwhite, who contributes several autobiographical songs to the mix, does more singing than playing, but he has no trouble blowing through the blues in the straight-ahead instrumental workout "I'll Meet You Over There." And, for all the Memphis emphasis of the album, the title actually comes from East L.A., courtesy of Musselwhite's upbeat rendition of Los Lobos' Americana gem "One Time One Night," that concludes the recording. --Michael Point