They should have called this album ‘Brilliance’. It does so much more than just Shine.
A couple of years ago – alright! Fifty years ago a phenomena called The British Invasion hit the shores of America fueled by young English kids delivering their take on American Blues and Rhythm & Blues music. John Lee Hooker said of the likes of The Animals, The Stones and other of these blues powered bands, “these white boys want to play the blues real bad, and these white boys play the blues REAL BAD.” And that was true. many of them weren’t schooled in the blues, but what they lacked in life experience they made up for with heart and soul.
Well, today John Lee might say, “These white girls want to play the blues real bad, and they play the blues REAL GOOD.” Call out the guards, we are in the midst of another British invasion and this time it is being lead by the girls. And this time they are schooled in the blues. Led by the breakthrough of Adele and joining her in the front ranks comes Dani Wilde. With a voice that ranges all over the chart, and off the chain Wilde brings a respect, an energy and a maturity to contemporary blues that is fated to conquer the air waves, the award ceremonies, and the soul of American fans.
Did I say contemporary? Yep. And that doesn’t mean a new take on the old standards. At 20 years of age she pens her own blues numbers. Nine of the eleven songs on this master piece are originals. To be sure, you can hear the influences of Aretha Franklin, Howlin’ Wolf not to mention the entire Stax catalog and every blues shouter that came out of the Chicago Blues scene. But they are original blues written with a maturity that belies her youth.
But, she is more than just an original blues song writer. Oh, so much more. She has a voice that covers the full range of emotion – and a good deal of the available octaves – from sweet caressing highs to down and dirty growls and toss in a bit of the British folk styling's for good measure and you get the impression she could cover anybody on the planet. She’s has an instinct for blues phrasing that sounds like it came from years of vocal schooling sifted through years of choir practice in a Gospel church. Yet, as disciplined as it sounds, it never loses its soul.
And what’s more, she plays great guitar. I don’t mean she stands on stage and strums with a Telecaster as a prop while some hired gun lays down the licks either. She plays with a unique finger style whether she is holding down the solos on her Telecaster or playing acoustic. Wilde is a true triple threat.
The title tune which opens the album is a prime example of all three. It’s soulful blues with nice harp added by Dani’s brother Will “Harmonica” Wilde. Her guitar work is tasteful and the vocal displays all the tools. Check out the video above.
There isn’t a throw away song on the album but a few of my favorites are the emotionally dark ”Don’t Give Up On Me” , the lament for the children of Kenya, and especially those at the County Primary School in the slums of Embu who inspired the song. Listen to it, “Abandoned Child” is 7 plus minutes of slow, minor key major plea blues for today.
I am real fond of her cover of The Rolling Stones, “Miss You” which she makes her own with an arrangement that includes three guitars, organ, blues harp and tenor sax and trumpet (by Martin Winning and Matt Holland respectfully- she stole these guys from Van Morrison’s band). “How Do You Do It” shines a light on her Aretha influences and “Born To Love Him” could have been written by Howlin’ Wolf and Bonnie Raitt couldn’t have delivered this any better. “Red Blooded Woman” slims down the band to five pieces and turns up the heat. It opens with her voice sliding from octave to octave as smoothly as a pool sharps pater with a nice acoustic blues lick before getting dirty lowdown in a sexy hot blues. This one will have you swinging your hips even if they’ve been replaced somewhere along life's road. “Big Brown Eyes” is another of my favorite, and it proves that she doesn’t need that all-star band behind her to bring it to you. It’s just that amazing voice and an acoustic guitar…did I say ‘just’? That’s enough because an orchestra couldn’t have done it better.
And that all-star band, well the record was produced by Mike Vernon who has produced Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall. I’m going to give top billing to the bassist, naturally. The bottom end is anchored by Roger Innis from Chaka Khan. Jamie Lee handles the skins. Pete Wingfield, who has handled the keys for the likes of Chris Rea and Buddy Guy covers the piano. And Stuart Dixon and Ben Poole contribute on guitar as does Laura Chavez.
Pick this album up at all the usual places, and when you put it on the shelf, make sure to leave room for Wilde’s future work as I guarantee you’ll be hooked.
Dani Wilde has just come off the road with the 2011 Ruf Records, Blues Caravan ‘Girls With Guitars’ tour where she was joined on stage by Cassie Taylor and Samantha Fish but you can still catch her on October 23-30, 2011 Legendary Pacific Blues Cruise.. WITH BOBBY BLUE BLAND and BOBBY WOMACK WWW.BLUESCRUISE.COM don’t miss it if you can help it.
Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved