Dean Haitaini – 47 Stones
CD: 12 Songs, 50:49 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Low-Key Blues, Folk, Americana
The cover art of 47 Stones, the latest release from Australia’s Dean Haitani, tells you all you need to know about the album. It features our guitar hero striking a chill pose between two pumps at an old gas station, with two guitars flanking him like stylish bookends. Meaning? His style’s a smooth mix of retro and contemporary, low-key, almost mellow but not quite. The photo shows Dean standing in the shadows. Several of the twelve tracks here have a dark tinge, a melancholy tone. With clear vocal diction and clearer feeling, Haitani takes us on a journey through the twilight shades of the blues. It’s not nighttime yet – not time for rip-roaring, string-breaking shreds – but that’s okay. Most of the songs are original compositions, with a couple classics (“The Thrill is Gone” and Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken”) thrown in for good measure.
Dean was born in a small town in Victoria, Australia where his earliest influence was his father, James, who played the piano, harmonica and piano accordion. His mother was also a good singer, but neither of his parents played music professionally. Dean listened to a lot of music on the radio, such as pop music and Australian bands like Cold Chisel, Goanna, and Paul Kelly. However, it was Dean’s first guitar teacher, Steve Brown, that introduced Dean to the Blues, hooking him via B.B. King’s Live at Cook County Jail.
Some of his professional accolades include being a finalist for the Sony BMG songwriting competition, being the guitarist for Tania and Fiona Kernaghan, the Vic/Tas Blues Awards, Frankston Guitar Festival, Bay Of Islands Blues Festival, Bridgetown Blues Festival, Bruthen Blues Festival, and the Great Southern Blues & Rockabilly Festival.
Yours truly couldn’t find an extensive list of the musicians alongside Haitani on 47 Stones. In spite of this, the following songs constitute the best of the best in terms of blues and blues rock.
Track 01: “Sweet Little Angel” – With guitar reminiscent of Tim “Too Slim” Langford from Too Slim and the Taildraggers, the CD’s opening number is a bit of a surprise. It’s got the best electric licks in the Land Down Under, backed up by a superb horn section and powerful piano. It could have held its own as an instrumental, but when Dean starts singing, the magic continues. “Send me a sweet little angel, I’ve got a devil in my shoes…sweet little woman, take away these midnight blues.”
Track 05: “Don’t Lie Down (Unless You’re Dying)” – Fake people are the worst, and Haitani knows it. Whether they’re trying to peddle sham products or their own sham-selves, our protagonist has a word of advice: “They’ll take you for a dollar, give you a dime. Crocodile smile, but it ain’t no crime…If they’re selling, you ain’t buying. Don’t lie down unless you’re dying.” This Chicago-style ditty will make non-dying people want to get out on the dance floor.
Track 10: “Dixie Chicken” – Time for some Southern spice, courtesy of Little Feat and Dean Haitani. What’s the best part of this cover? Everything, but especially the piano and percussion. The original artists would be proud, as is Ms. Wetnight, who liked Little Feat as a young ‘un.
47 Stones is a chill collection of contemporary blues, rock, and Australian-style Americana!