The Heart, The Healer & The Holy Groove
(MRM Records - 2016) ...available now on Bloos Records
The Heart, The Healer & The Holy Groove is the debut album of Italian duo River Blonde - guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and singer Stefano Tavernese, and percussionist Armando Serafini.
A work that will captivate the listener with its original sound and immediate impact, the album brings together original songs and instrumentals, as well as four covers drawn from the traditional blues repertoire and contemporary songwriting between roots-rock and country-blues.
River Blonde nod toward cult artists such as Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper, J.J.Cale, yet any references are reshaped in the duo's distinctive sound, characterized by the blend of Serafini's original percussion and Tavernese's guitars and other stringed instruments.
The seven tracks written by Tavernese tread a varied path, starting with the energetic guitar-driven groove of "The Preacher's Tale", followed by the intense acoustic ballad "Deep of My Heart"; the instrumental "The Banshee Stomp" blends Celtic and Middle Eastern atmospheres with the rock sound of the percussion and Adriano Viterbini's electric guitar; "She Would Always" is a delicate ballad for voice and piano only. The electric slide guitar comes to the fore in "Maggie's Dance", while "Sgroovin" is a lively nod to funk. The final album track is the hypnotic, gospel-tinged "Oh Mother Can You Save Me".
The Heart, The Healer & The Holy Groove also includes four covers. John Hartford's "The Six O'Clock Train and a Girl with Green Eyes" becomes the only album track in Italian, "Il treno delle sei", in an intriguing semi-spoken version; Ben E. King's classic "Stand By Me" takes on an unusual, delicate Latin atmosphere; "Police Dog Blues" by the great Blind Blake is turned into a rousing shuffle, and the old traditional "Long John" is enhanced with piano, mandolin and harmony vocal.
The album, recorded, mixed and produced by Giacomo De Caterini, is enriched by the presence of guest artists such as Adriano Viterbini of Bud Spencer Blues Explosion on slide guitar, electric and mando-guitar; pianist and soul singer Mario Donatone; Lorenzo Feliciati and Fabio Fraschini on bass; Enrico Cosimi on keyboards; Federico Ciancabilla on rhythm guitar; and singer Gina Fabiani.
"...an emotional, devoted and sincere tribute to the roots of the blues, mixing folk, funk and country influences... a lineup in which the warmth of a fire that comes from the original spirit of the Delta spreads quietly, but extremely alive, able to spread its regenerative flame." (Guitar Club, February 2017)
"...a blues record enriched with elements of roots music... “The Preacher's Tale” and “Police Dog Blues” are full of groove, “Oh Mother Can You Save Me” is a night flight. The climax in the furious beat of “The Banshee Stomp” and in the beautiful “Deep of My Heart”.
(Il Manifesto, February 2017)
BLUES & BEYOND Music Label from ROME - Italy
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