Indian rock fans normally associate Shillong-based musician Lou Majaw with Bob Dylan covers, which he presents at gigs in his trademark shorts and sleeveless tees. There have been very few times he’s confined himself to a studio.
April Shower is the septuagenarian’s latest solo album, and he’s clearly worked on creating some neat and melodic guitar-based compositions. Though there is a trace of influences of Mark Knopfler, Roy Buchanan, Joe Walsh and Carlos Santana, the overall sound is pretty much his own.
On the title song, spoken word poetry makes way for smooth guitar improvisations. On ‘Let Me Be’, Majaw’s vocals are clear, as he sings, “Let me be with you when the road is rough, I will be your strength when the going gets tough”. Backed by a simple and tuneful riff, this is a beauty.
The album contains its fill of soothing instrumentals. ‘Tender Moments’ grows after a few listens, and is perfect for listening deep into the night. ‘Shisha’ has a haunting intro, and some lush keyboards, with just the word ‘Shisha’ thrown in twice.
With its country-laced fiddle and flowing vocals, ‘True True Love’ reminds you of Knopfler’s solo works. A highlight is the 11-minute ‘Oh Most Beautiful’, which talks of gratitude. “I thank you for the lonely night, the million stars, the moon so bright”, he says, and the extended guitar solo fits perfectly. Majaw has an accent that’s very identifiable as north-eastern and he sounds natural.
The album concludes with ‘Because’, where Majaw begins with a guitar instrumental sequence and has an open ending, saying “If I cry it’s not because I’m sad, If I smile it’s not because I’m glad, It’s because…” All through, the highlight is the effortless guitaring, and Majaw sounds very different from the Dylanesque twang we know him for.
After Soulmate’s blues-rock beauty Give Love, this is the second fantastic album coming out of Shillong within a few months. It’s good to be drenched in this April Shower, even in October.