Today brought a rainy, foggy day to our corner of Wisconsin. I met a friend for lunch in Appleton, a half-hour south, and that trip provided a perfect opportunity to listen to Steve Winwood’s new album.
After being teased with a couple of cuts a couple of months ago, the CD finally arrived in the mail the other day. It certainly was worth the wait.
As I listened to the nine cuts on “Nine Lives,” I was struck by their timeless elegance. It’s classic Winwood. Its tunes could have been among his ’70s output with Traffic or his ’80s solo work.
This is not a guy trying to reinvent himself or trying to keep up with what the kids are listening to. This is a mature artist — Winwood turns 60 later this month — secure in himself and his work, taking the natural next step.
You’ll hear Winwood’s high tenor and Hammond B-3 organ on every cut, seemingly not aged a day. He sets the tone and Karl Vanden Bossche’s terrific world-beat percussion drives it along.
“Raging Sea” and “Secrets,” both from “Nine Lives,” Steve Winwood, 2008.
“Raging Sea” is a song of separation from a loved one and hopes for being reunited. “Secrets” is lighter, if you can say that about a song about a spy or a gun dealer.