Heal My Soul
Jeff Healey would have turned 50 this year. His wife and his estate worked closely with producer Roger Costa to release his final album in time for this occasion. Instead of a collections of B-sides and outtakes, this is a cohesive album, with well-crafted songs and memorable riffs. Healey had been in a time of turmoil, with his long time band imploding, when he started working on this album. It shows in the combination of classic, even safe, sounding bluesy numbers, mixed with more experimental tracks crossing into different genres.
The opening track, “Daze of the Night” is a hard rocking single that would be at home on the radio…. I mean a Spotify playlist today. That is followed by “Moodswing,” which trades in hard-rocking riffs for a funky groove with a psychedelic feel, and incorporates the lyric that gives the album it’s title â€” “This time, I will take control. This time, I will heal my soul.” Things slow down with “Baby Blue,” a ballad that highlights Healey’s haunting voice, heartache present in every line. “Temptation” brings the blues that brought Healey to prominence in the first place. A solid rhythm section grounds the track while his guitar cries and wails in that way that only he could make it sound.
The only complaint I have is the repetition, not of styles, but of lyrics. On a few of the songs the refrain, often of the title, gets ponderous. For example, both “Moodswing” and “I Misunderstood” rely on endless repetition of a vocal hook for almost the last third of the song. Similarly, “Please” is a bouncy funk number, but lyrically hollow. This could be due to the unfinished nature of the album; perhaps some of these were not the final versions. I would almost rather have had a few instrumental tracks instead. These songs summarize the entire album – highs and lows of various genres, mixing well and making the album a timeless tribute to an extremely talented musician who was taken from us too soon. If you were a fan of Healey during his prime, then picking up his final posthumous album is a no brainer. But if you have never heard of the blind bluesman with the unorthodox lap style of guitar playing, then by all means give Heal My Soul a listen.