Eric Bibb's debut album, Good Stuff, is a clever fusion of contemporary folk and classic country-blues and classic gospel that emphasizes the guitarist's skill at fusing genres, as well as his flair for writing solid bluesy songs.
With Painting Signs, Eric Bibb makes a fine case for blues as a music of introspection, warmth, and supreme nuance. Easily his most mature album to date, Painting Signs continues Bibb's formula of socially aware songs performed from an acutely personal point-of-view; standout tracks "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down" and a cover of "Hope in a Hopeless World" hammer home his message of individual freedom and the responsibilities that accompany it. (It's no coincidence that Pops Staples, to whom Bibb dedicates this album, once recorded the latter song.) That's not to say Painting Signs is overly didactic or, indeed, "heavy" in any way; even the most serious songs here, like the plea for peace and unity "Got To Do Better," are leavened by a musical backdrop that's soulful and immediately accessible. Gospel-leaning backing vocals by Linda Tillery and her Cultural Heritage Choir help flesh out several cuts, and robust accordion fills by Bibb's longtime accompanist Janne Petersson add a subtle Louisiana flavor to the rolling, propulsive "Kokomo" and, to surprisingly good effect, the deep-grooved version of Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do."
A compendium of Eric Bibb's best recordings from the past decade. 50 tracks, 3 CD's, three hours and twenty minutes of outstanding music. Considering the high level of quality that any Eric Bibb album has, one can imagine how exciting a collection of his favourite tunes, recorded between 2003 and 2013, would be! Here it is - The crown jewels indeed! As a bonus, Bibb re-recorded three especially cherished songs : a brilliant conclusion to the third CD.