All the Boats Are Gonna Rise shows the keen storytelling skill of Ernest Troost. Pointedly less impressionistic and lyrical than most blues, Troost's songs are rooted instead in character, situation, and narrative. Adeptly fingerpicked guitar backs his clear, expressive singing. Troost's style and subject matter recall Dylan, Dave Alvin, and (especially for his concentration on life's darker side) Richard Thompson--enviable company indeed. Such comparisons are not lightly made: Every song here is a keeper. Favorites include the murder ballad "Evangeline," with its haunted protagonist; the simple, John Hurt-like "This Field"; "Train to Kokomo," a series of sharply etched vignettes; and the appropriately named "Disturbing Blues," about a mother who methodically dismembers her child as he learns to make and respond to music.

—Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue Magazine

  

3 1/2 stars

All The Boats Are Gonna Rise is truly a solo effort, just Troost alone on guitars, vocals, and harmonica. The lead-in title track is ironic and prescient after the carnage in Louisiana recently: “I don't know but I been told, no need to worry ‘cause the levee's gonna hold”; “don't need no government to tell ‘em who to trust”; “fat cats laughin' as they pulled out of town”; “we gathered up the bodies and we stacked them up high”. Lines like these have the makings of a documentary score, a New Orleans anthem, wouldn't you think? There's a lot of Delta country blues influence on this recording, and a lot of social commentary, as well. Imagine a bayou-bred John Steinbeck taking up a fret board instead of a pen and you've pretty much got the picture.


                                                                                  --Don Grant

The Netherlands

Kippenvel- Ruud Heijjer

Ernest Troost-- All the Boats Are Gonna Rise ***1/2

Ernest Troost-- Resurrection Blues ****

Real music.

Live at McCabe’s was a first introduction to a man with a calling. That CD proved to be Ernest Troost’s third, because the composer of film music already debuted as a bluesy folkie in 2004. Troost plays and sings his thirteen songs solo on All the Boats Are Gonna Rise, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and sometimes on harmonica too. That way it attracts all the more attention how strong his melodies are and how well he sings. Troost’s songs breathe respect for acoustic blues and folk, but are constructed carefully at the same time, while his vocals betray subdued emotions. It makes no difference whether he sings about the fate of New Orleans after Katrina from within or about the regret of a wrongfully not convicted murderer. Because of his compact songs and his propelling guitar playing he also convinces in songs about sadistic mother love, the paranoia of a archetypical American patriot or the trek to California in the twenties.

With Resurrection Blues, the thirteen songs he recorded in 2009 with musical friends like singer Nicole Gordon also prove Troost’s broad perspective on blues and folk. In a somewhat richer musical setting Troost and co-producer Louise Hatem again stress the intimate character of the songs by means of the sparse instrumentation in a crystal-clear production. Once again rounded melodies and his original lyrics make his second record a small masterpiece on which pangs of love, longing and murderers alternate. That way he made two CD’s full of timeless miniatures that still deserve to be heard.