Music: Slide Guitar Summit – Arlen Roth

Michael Buffalo Smith

Michael Buffalo Smith

Buffalo hails from Spartanburg, SC. Officially the "Ambassador of Southern Rock," he has written for many publications including Rolling Stone, Relix, Goldmine and his own Kudzoo Magazine. He is also a recording artist and author of six books, the latest being "Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock."
Michael Buffalo Smith

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arlen roth slide guitar summit

Arlen Roth has long been one of my very favorite slide guitarists, and on his latest album he brings that masterful slide and blues twang to a collection that finds him in duet with a who’s who of rock and blues guitar slingers. Slide Guitar Summit pairs Roth with Dave Lindley, Cindy Cashdollar, Jimmy Vivino – even some of my own friends are along for the ride. The awesome Jack Pearson sings and plays with Roth on “Do What’s Right” to great effect. Jack is amazing. Our man Lee Roy Parnell rocks some Robert Johnson on the timeless “Dust My Broom.” Lee Roy returns for an excellent rendition of Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken.” Love that song! Our buddy Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters) pulls out the Southern boogie on “Peach Picking Time in Georgia,” a great tribute to the South! The “Kings of Slide” just keep a comin,’ with Sonny Landreth joining Arlen on “Sonny Skies.”

One of the many highlights of this album is the pairing of Arlen Roth and the late Johnny Winter, doing a rousing take on one of the earliest rock ‘n roll songs, “Rocket 88.” One of the saddest things in my life recently was the loss of Johnny. He had been a musical hero of mine as far back as 1972 when I first entered high school, and I have every album the man cut. It seemed he was really getting his life and career back on track, sounding better than he had in years and playing with a clear head. Then he left us. He will always be remembered through his body of work, including two fabulous final albums, and this excellent track with Arlen.

The album closes with style, mining one of the original American musical stiles, good ol’ gospel. Greg Martin returns to join Roth in a downright beautiful instrumental take on “Amazing Grace.” It’s a great way to wrap up an album that every guitar player or guitar fan is sure to love. Buffalo says, “Check it out!”

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