Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Eliza Neals: “Sweet Or Mean” (2019) CD Review

Things are pretty strange out there, with a third of this country still under the twisted spell of a narcissistic rapist pretending to be president. Who are these people, and why are they? The idea of running into one of them is depressing and frightening. It is a good thing we have people like Eliza Neals to raise our spirits, to keep our blood pumping, to remind us that there is actually life out there. And on her new release, an EP titled Sweet Or Mean, she is joined by fellow blues rocker Popa Chubby (Ted Horowitz) on guitar. Two incredible forces working together like this means the CD is going to have a lot of power, a lot of attitude, a lot of energy. The tracks on this EP are all originals, written or co-written by Eliza Neals. In addition to Popa Chubby, this disc features Dave Keyes on keys, Chris Gambaro-Vega on bass, and John Medeiros Jr. on drums. This release follows 2017’s 10,000 Feet Below.

The EP opens with “Pawn Shop Blues,” which comes on strong, Eliza’s vocals having a fiery energy that jumps out of your stereo speakers. This is a fun, lively tune that features a horn section. Ian Hendrickson is on saxophone, and Michael Leonhart is on trumpet. But it is that electric guitar that really soars and drives this song forward.  That’s followed by “Blackish Gray,” which describes the color of the sky. I love the worn quality of her voice when she sings of making love all night. That is undeniably sexy. This song has a strong pulse. “Bitten By The Blues” is another fun one, with some classic vibes, and a great energy. This song is about someone who is into rock and roll but falls for the blues, and enjoys both musical realms. Indeed, this feels like Eliza Neals through and through. She is rock, she is blues. “Bitten by the blues/But I still love rock and roll/Please don’t make me choose/They both saved my soul.” This track mentions some famous musicians, such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. As it fades out, it sounds like they’re about to start the song again, you can hear it being counted off.

“Livin’ With Yo Mama” has a more traditional blues rock sound and rhythm. It seems that blues just bursts forth from within Eliza Neal, all rough and wonderful. Plus, there is plenty of great guitar work here, the track becoming a good blues jam. “Livin’ With Yo Mama” is a song that Eliza Neals had recorded before. She included a very different rendition of it on her 2012 album, Messin’ With A Fool. “Livin’ With Yo Mama” is followed by “Knock Knock Knockin’,” an acoustic track that rocks and moves and grooves just as strongly as the electric tracks. I am seriously digging this tune, and it might actually be my favorite track of the EP. “I love running naked in the night/I love skinny dipping when the moon is right.” The disc then concludes with a second rendition of “Pawn Shop Blues,” this one with a great bar band sound, as indicated by its parenthetical title, “Roadhouse.” This one is without the horn section, but is still a whole hell of a lot of fun.

CD Track List
  1. Pawn Shop Blues
  2. Blackish Gray
  3. Bitten By The Blues
  4. Livin’ With Yo Mama
  5. Knock Knock Knockin’
  6. Pawn Shop Blues (Roadhouse)
Sweet Or Mean is scheduled to be released on July 4, 2019.

No comments:

Post a Comment