Review: Greg Izor With The Royal We – Sustained Winds


Greg Izor and the Royal We – Sustained Winds

Greg Izor With The Royal We – Sustained Winds
Format: CD – Digital / Label: For The Road Records
Release: 2024

Text: Pascal Wilhelm

OK, let me start by saying that I am by no means objective towards this new record by Greg Izor With The Royal We. That is because I had the privilege to work with the man on an EP (‘Chucufu’ – Ticket West & Greg Izor).

Greg currently lives in Spain and ‘Sustained Winds’ (released on the Dutch label For The Road Records) was cut with the help of his Spanish friends (Cesar Crespo, Javi Suarez, Luis Maldonado, Christian Morana, Pascu Monje and Paul San Martin).

What stands out immediately is the clarity of the sounds on this record. “I want it to sound like you are in the room with us“, he explains. The song Here on ice made me think of the famous ‘Folk Singer’ album by Muddy Waters. “Actually, for the stuff that I did solo, we use the same microphones that they used for the Muddy ‘Folk Singer’ record.“

Being a modest man, he did not intend to live up to that standard, but I love that Muddy record and if you do as well, you will notice the similarity. What also stands out is the fact that on several songs, there are no drums, and the record is quite varied overall “The songs are quite different from other blues records, there’s a lot of country and New Orleans R&B influence there along with the traditional stuff.”

I noticed that I kept playing this record due to its variation, the sound and Greg’s excellent and relaxed delivery.

Greg is world champion singing behind the beat. When he sings, he forces the band to adapt. How natural all parts of the songs fit together is in stark contrast with his perfectionism (“Between the recording and the mixing and mastering, I think I’ve heard it 1 million times!”). 

‘Sustained Winds’ may come across like a traditional blues album, but in his approach to composing and arranging, he does some quirky things; listen to the drum part in All The Same, the use of that bass harmonica in Please Understand and what about that electric sitar!

Take notice of ‘Sustained Winds,’ people. But don’t expect a typical singer-and-harpplayer-record. In his own words: “It seems to be like a lot of harmonica players make records where each song is a display of what the player can do in a certain style or position or something.  I like those kinds of records, but it’s not what I do. I do some unusual things, but I prefer that it’s not noticeable, that whatever it is just fits the song and sounds.”

Greg will be touring in Spain, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands in the summer to promote his new record. Love it!

01. Go Ahead On
02. Untrue
03. Here on Ice
04. Lies of Omission
05. Ines
06.  All the Same
07. I Never Gamble
08. Please Understand
09. Once Was Enough
10. Up To The Top


Greg Izor and the Royal We - tour 2024