For her second release on the Concord label, Danielle Nicole makes a change, switching from Anders Osborne to Tony Braunagel as producer. Braunagel produced the last two Trampled Under Foot releases, so a strong working relationship already exists. And Danielle certainly sounds right at home throughout the disc, skillfully mixing blues, rock and soul with gospel seasoning. She composed nine of the songs, with Braunagel lending a helping hand on five tracks.
Danielle possesses a magnificent voice plus an understanding of the art of singing, avoiding the screaming, shouting style that is so prevalent these days. She prefers to dig into the lyrics, working to unveil the inherent emotions in each number. “Crawl” finds her mustering the courage to tell a no-good man that there is only one way he can regain her trust and love. The guitar interplay between brother Nick Schnebelen and Johnny Lee Schell creates a taut backdrop filled out by Mike Sedovic on organ, with the singer on bass and Braunagel on drums setting the propulsive rhythm. On the Bill Withers tune, “Hot Spell,” she plays a deep bass line, her voice sliding from a sexy purr to a tender declaration.
Mike Finnigan takes over the organ on the title track, a soulful lament with a touch of grit. “Bobby” is a quieter, passionate tune with Schell adding a different feel with a cigar box fiddle. On “Pusher Man,” Danielle emphatically asserts her intentions to keep her love interest addicted to her charms. Kelly Finnigan, Mike’s son & a member of the Monophonics, appears on two tracks. “Poison The Well” allows Danielle to utilize the vast dynamic range of her voice, then Finnegan joins the singer for a lusty duet on “Someday You Might Change Your Mind,” framed by some stellar playing by Schell.
The remaining tracks feature Danielle backed by some of the finest guitar pickers in the land. She forms a potent combination with Sonny Landreth on the gospel-tinged “I’m Going Home,” Landreth’s slide work creating an other-worldly atmosphere. Walter Trout contributes some fiery passages on “Burnin’ For You,” with Maxanne Lewis and Kudisan Kai on backing vocals. Next up, Kenny Wayne Shepherd matches Danielle’s heated performance on “Save Me”. The singer’s shares her sultry side on “Baby Eyes, “ with her regular guitarist, Brandon Miller, taking over. “Monster” Mike Welch’s playing seamlessly frames Danielle’s inconsolable narrative on lost love on “My Heart Remains”. He makes similar contributions on Prince’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore,” a stunning track with Danielle impressively channeling the style and sound of the First Lady of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The final song, Blind Willie Johnson’s “Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying,” features Luther Dickinson on slide and Schell once again on the cig fiddle.
There is plenty of heartache and pain pouring out of most of this disc. Danielle makes you feel every bit of the emotional weight while also conveying an underlying message of strength and resolve to persevere through all of the trials. It is another triumph for an artist who undoubtedly ranks in the upper tier of blues singers. Highly recommended!