For this new album Ian returned to the Zebra Ranch studio in Coldwater, Misississippi, where he recorded his Blues Music Awards nominated The Skinny. This latest disc takes its name from a line in the song Loose Cannon, and the thrill that Ian felt as he pick-‘n’-mixed some of the greatest players on the contemporary blues scene (“You get to feeling like the proverbial kid in a candy store,” he recalls).
Ian is renowned for his songwriting but Killer songs were only half the equation. Spin Candy Store Kid and you’re also hearing chemistry. As Ian stepped up to the microphone at the Zebra Ranch studio in Coldwater, Mississippi, he was flanked by his dream-team of local legends that he collectively coined The Mississippi Mudbloods. Cody Dickinson is a towering presence on drums, percussion and piano. Dickinson’s multi-instrumentalist brother and Black Crowes sideman Luther Dickinson was enlisted to add guitar and mandolin, and bass on several tracks. Ian first met Alvin Youngblood Hart during 2010’s The Skinny sessions, when the Grammy-winning guitarist swung by the studio and ended up tracking some guitar and backing vocals. There was a mutual desire to work together again, and for Candy Store Kid, he was welcomed back on bass, guitar and backing vocals.
Inevitably, when word spread that a limey musician was tearing it up at the local studio, Zebra Ranch became a drop-in centre, with cameos from Garry Burnside, who provides sizzling musicianship on four tracks and composition on Strong Woman; and Lightnin’ Malcolm, who penned So Much Trouble. Ian’s gravel-flecked voice is also supplemented on several songs by the soaring backup of Stefanie Bolton, Sharisse Norman and Shontelle Norman. The candy store was open for business.
For Ian, Candy Store Kid represents – in his own words – his best recorded work to date. It’s hard to argue faced with these 11 classic songs. In a scene where too much blues tastes the same, Candy Store Kid is an explosion of colours and flavours.