CD: 12 Songs; 51:06 Minutes
Styles: Blues Rock
Detroit may be known for both Motown and as the “Motor City,” but it’s also a blues HQ. It may not be quite the mecca Chicago is, in terms of this magazine’s favorite genre, but it’s one of the top places for the genuine article. With that said, where does Eliza Neals fit in? She’s not John Lee Hooker, Alberta Adams, Eddie Burns, or Thornetta Davis, all of whom hail from this particular city. Her newest album, Breaking and Entering, can be summarized in four words: “File under blues rock.” Indeed, in her promotional materials, it says this above a bar code.
Eliza often sounds like Alannah Myles or Janis Joplin. Despite this, she’s got some great performers alongside her. Her info sheet continues: “Prowling with Detroit’s blazing blues guitarist Howard Glazer (El 34s) and hit producer Mike Puwal (Cannonball Records ICP), these housebreakers know how to sneak their way to your crown jewels. A team of safecracker musicians, with featured guest guitarist Kenny Olson (Kid Rock), drills open a pandemonium of grit-grime and gris-gris.”
Joining lead vocalist Neals, who also performs on piano, B3 organ, and Rhodes, are the aforementioned Glazer, Puwal and Olson, drummers Gabe Gonzales, Tim Grogan, Michael Galante, Steve Lacross, and Erik Maluchnik, bassists Paul Randolph and Chris Vega, Tyrone Smith on saxophone, piano and organ, guitarist Shane Visbal, and background vocalists Lizz Kristi and Renee Flemings. There are twelve tracks total on this CD, but only eleven songs. The title number, “Breaking and Entering”, is in both its long form and its radio edit. The other tunes include ten originals and one cover. The three below will delight everyone who digs blues rock:
Track 01: “Detroit Drive” – Howard Glazer plays super dobro on the CD’s opener, making this reviewer wish he would have done more than one song with it. “Gonna get in my car and drive – open up the window, breeze feels fine. Going to stop and get me some wine. Living the good life ain’t no crime,” warbles Eliza. Her voice and a stomping drum beat are the perfect combo.
Track 03: “Jekyll and a Hound” – This song will pique listeners’ interest via its title alone. Such a gritty ditty finishes the adage, “Hell hath no fury…” “You stole my black cat bone; now the devil’s free to roam. You’d better watch your back. Chances are I’m going to sack you.” Mike Puwal plays searing lead guitar, and Steve Lacross does daring drum duty.
Track 09: “Sugar Daddy” – “Sugar Daddy, you’s my ma-a-an.” So sing soulful backup vocalists Lizz Kristi and Renee Flemings in the dynamite intro. It’s a ‘50s style blues rocker that will make boomers dance and young people jump up and down. The titular character may be rich, but “He’s a fool, he’s a fool, he’s a doggone fool.”
Eliza Neals will be Breaking and Entering the blues rock scene for years to come!