The Secret - Vieux Farka Toure
The secret to a good secret is in the telling. After echoing his father and channeling his rock ‘n roll heroes on his first two albums, Vieux Farka Toure returns with The Secret, his most defined telling so far. The concepts of secrets and stories are ingrained in the aural tradition of West Africa’s griot, and as this gifted guitarist and song writer resolves his past and his present toward maturity a focused and polished persona emerges on this muscular collection. “This record”, he explains, “digs deeper into the past and pushes harder into the future as a result. This is a hard thing to explain, but hopefully the music speaks for itself. Do you want to know the secret? You have to listen to the album". Once again, that maturity shines through as Vieux obviously understands the power of a secret in marketing. Another secret to a good secret is who you share it with. It should be with people you can trust to the retelling and who, hopefully will add their own creative spin to the story. This disc began in concept as a collaboration with other artists and gradually was honed down to a few choice members of the guitar god club and conspicuously Dave Matthews, whose voice Vieux describes as “diabolical”. The select and highly vaunted axe men include Derek Trucks, John Scofield and Eric Krasno (from the trio Soulive, who also produces The Secret). I’d be remiss not to include a posthumous appearance by Vieux late father Ali Farka Toure on the poignant title that seamlessly passes the singing strings from father to son through the miracle of modern recording. Krasno is a terrific choice for producer bringing a confident, gut bucket bluesy realism to the arrangements without sacrificing fidelity. But, he credits Vieux for the ‘lightning in a bottle’ effect. “He likes to just start playing and hit record; he really likes to catch the groove and go,” Krasno says. The magic of the moment is best captured on Lakkal (Watch Out) a particularly groovy track featuring Ivan Neville on organ and Eric Krasno’s own interpretive touch of guitar. The Secret’s out. Get your copy today (sorry, couldn’t resist).