Thursday, October 4, 2018

Trevor Sewell: “Calling Nashville” (2017) CD Review

Blues musician Trevor Sewell has some fantastic folks backing him on his 2017 release Calling Nashville, including Janis Ian and Tracy Nelson. The album features all original material, written by Trevor Sewell. Though Trevor Sewell is known as a blues musician, on this album he is not strictly held to those parameters, incorporating elements of rock, jazz, soul, gospel, and even country into the music. Trevor Sewell, in addition to providing the lead vocals, plays guitar, mandolin, bass and keys. He is joined by Justin Kimball on bass, Dave Robson on bass, Sean O’Bryan Smith on upright bass, Trevor Brewis on drums and backing vocals, Kellen Michael Wenrich on fiddle, and Tim McDonald on organ. Janis Ian plays piano on a few tracks. Backing vocals are provided by Janis Ian, Tracy Nelson, Vickie Carrico, Mia Moravis, and Chris McCartie.

This disc opens with “Some Day,” a strong and compelling blues rock tune with something of a gospel spin. It’s driven by the guitar and the rhythm, but also by an optimistic thought, that “Some day/We’re going to start again/Treat each other right.” A message for the world right now, eh? I’m completely disgusted with a significant portion of my country’s population, and I wonder if I would ever be able to treat those people (read that as Trump supporters) right. I’m afraid I’m beyond that point. We’ll see, I suppose. Then in “Mountain Of Gold,” the vocal delivery has an intimate feel, like he’s right next to us, speaking directly to us. “If I tried until the day I died/I could never be the way you want me to.” But then he tells us, “We must learn to trust each other through these troubled times/Or sink without a trace beneath the tides.” This tune strongly, and seemingly effortlessly, connects to us, and perhaps connects us to each other. It has something of an easygoing vibe.

“Fade To Grey” is one of the album’s best tracks. It is delivered as a duet with Janis Ian, who also plays piano on this track. “Sometimes I pray/That I could fade to grey/Like you/And just become see-through.” This song has a seriously cool jazzy vibe, particularly with that rhythm and that nice work on piano, and includes some wonderful instrumental sections. I also appreciate that it’s not overproduced, that they didn’t stick a lot of other instruments here, but rather let the track breathe a bit. “Well, I have my problems/But so do we all/And though you never fail to answer when I call.” That’s followed by another of the disc’s highlights, “Matter Of Time,” which has a solid groove and vocals that are delivered with just the right amount of rawness. “I was wrong/I agree/Now there’s just no way back for me/Thankfully/I don’t care/If this is the outside, please leave me there.” It becomes a pretty good jam too. And the line that is repeated as the song slowly fades out is “It really doesn’t matter.” I find myself uttering that line a lot these days.

“Long Time Ago” is another of my favorites. This kind of groove always works for me, so I’m on board right from the start of this one. Trevor’s vocals are smooth and wonderful. “We all do some things we would rather forget, and I should know/But that was a long time ago.” I love the way he sings “and I should know,” like it’s an added thought, something that just occurred to him. And then Tracy Nelson comes in. Yes, this song is another duet. “Well, I thought I’d get even/Lord knows how I tried/That in due course of time all the anger subsides.” There is some nice stuff on organ here. Trevor sings, “Nobody knows what the future may hold.” True. Things then get rocking with “You Ain’t What I’m Looking For,” a fun and lively number that has a bit of a swing feel. “We all make bad decisions/I guess that’s just life/Well, I may not know much, but one thing is for sure/You ain’t what I’m looking for/You just ain’t.” I really like the backing vocals on this track, repeating, “You ain’t what I’m looking for.”

Trevor Sewell then dips into country territory with “Tear It Down,” a mellower tune with nice work on fiddle. “No matter what you have in store/You can’t hurt me anymore/And soon you’ll melt away/Like the ice that you are made of.” Another line I really like is “Then innocence helped ease the pain.” Then “Stand Next To Him” comes on with a great force, and features more good work by Kellen Michael Wenrich on fiddle. “The Way You Are” has a more relaxed vibe. “Don’t spare a thought for anyone who seems/To be caught in the crossfire on your battlefield/Don’t consider casualties/The way you are/The things you say/And the hearts you break/Will come around.” Then “Blanket Of Hope” has a more upbeat, positive feel. “I’ll take my chances and stay who I am/I’ll face these dark days alone.” I hope these dark days will come to an end soon. Friends, be sure to vote in the midterm elections, and start the process for removing that vile racist and his corrupt gang of assholes from power, so the country can begin healing. The CD then concludes with “Shadows,” a gentle, beautiful song, with Janis Ian backing Trevor on piano. “The sky was dark/I was afraid/You chased the shadows away.”

CD Track List
  1. Some Day
  2. Mountain Of Gold
  3. Fade To Grey
  4. Matter Of Time
  5. Long Time Ago
  6. You Ain’t What I’m Looking For
  7. Tear It Down
  8. Stand Next To Him
  9. The Way You Are
  10. Blanket Of Hope
  11. Shadows 
Calling Nashville was released on July 25, 2017.

No comments:

Post a Comment