Deeper in the Well

Eric Bibb is, like his dad, Leon, a folk singer of surpassing merit and has more than 20 CDs out to prove it. Last September he headed down to Pont Breaux, La., (the “Crawfish Capital of the World”) to a bayou-area studio with—as he put it—“a satchel of new songs” where he joined up with six other “musical brothers” to “record a celebration of our shared Americana heritage.” Bibb wrote seven of the 13 songs and hands out some good advice to his daughter on “No Further” (“Stop what you’re doin’, honey, the downward road is steep.”); for all of us on “Movin’ Up” (“Still, we oughta help each other don’t you agree?/ Ain’t nothin’ wrong with good advice for free.”); and ruminations on the nature of music on “Music” (“’Cause music is more than rules or tradition/ I’ll play what I want, don’t need no permission.”). The songs are cheerily rendered with superb assistance from his musical brothers, especially Grant Dermody (harp), studio owner Dirk Powell (who plays a variety of stringed instruments) and Cedric Watson (fiddles). The title track, which Bibb refers to as a “hokey anthem,” advises all of us to work a little harder: “If you want to get at the heart of things you’ve got to look way down deep.”