NEWS

TORONTO BLUES SOCIETY

Reviews RCM Artist Danny Brooks
John Valenteyn
Maple Blues Online - John's Blues Picks
September 2007
Posted: September 26, 2007

NO EASY WAY OUT

For a man whose passion has been the music of the American South, recording there with this crew must have been a dream come true. Some names you may be familiar with are David Hood on bass, Bonnie Bramlett on back up vocals and Spooner Oldham the keyboard player and contributing writer to many of the songs we remember. But the main name here is Johnny Sandlin, the producer and at whose Duck Tape Studios in Alabama the sessions took place.

Those of you familiar with Danny's last two albums will know what to expect here, with catchy new songs firmly in that southern tradition. Having said that, the opening song is a heartfelt paean to all the fine music he's seen and heard here in Toronto, from the Colonial days to the present.

If I were to choose a single from the album it would be "Bama Bound", an anthemic rocker that would make Springsteen proud. The title track is a solid blues, extolling the virtues of hard work over easy expectations. A fine new song that captures how he sees his faith is called "Where Sinners and Saints Collide", the idea for which came to him at the Blind Boys of Alabama/Susan Tedeschi show at Massey Hall recently. "All God's Children" takes its cue from the Percy Sledge songbook, about a waitress who was probably not as happy as she seemed. "Lonesome Road", with its bluesy title and instrumentation, builds to the gospel intensity that a couple of the others songs have as well, "Miracles for Breakfast" and "Carry Me Jesus".

There really aren't any weak songs here and you'll be humming a couple of them long after, as I was. The playing is stellar, with drummer Billy Stewart deserving special mention. There are far too many players here to credit them all but Danny's raspy vocals, guitar and harp are front and center, as they must be and deserve to be. Rockin' Camel is a new US company that has been advertising this album and a number of others in the bluess press all summer. I hope this new availability will be a huge career jump. The music here is certainly worth it. Danny's CD launch is at Hugh's Room on Thursday, September 6th.