Wind Chill Records
10 songs – 45 minutes
Matteo Sansonetto is an Italian singer/guitarist whose earlier releases have emphasized his love of the classic Chicago blues of the likes of Muddy Waters and Magic Sam. On his new album, My Life Began To Change, Sansonetto takes a more funk/soul/blues/Stax-influenced route to produce a very enjoyable album.
Openly displaying his influences in his song selections, Sansonetto covers two of Johnny Guitar Watson’s funkier tracks (“I Want To Ta-Ta You Baby” and “A Real Mother For Ya”) as well as classics by Albert King (“You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain”, re-titled here as “Hard Bargain”), Lee Dorsey (“Get Out Of My Life, Woman”), Latimore (“Let’s Straighten It Out”) and Little Milton (“That’s What Love Will Make You Do”). As you’d expect when the backing band comprises the always-magnificent Marty Binder on drums, Brian Burke on bass ( except on “I’ve Been Looking For You”, where Valentina Sigismondi assumes bass duties), Breezy Rodio on second guitar, Roosevelt Purifoy on keys, Bill Overton and Art Davis on horns and Jen Williams on background vocals, the music is masterful. Overton’s sax and Davis’ trumpet provide memorable hooks as well as tasty solos on tracks like “Get Out Of My Life, Woman” while the entire rhythm section is simply badass throughout.
Sansonetto holds his own in such elevated company. He sings in a warm, sly, husky voice and plays tasty, minimalist solos, hinting at influences such as Albert King and Albert Collins while displaying the restraint of modern masters such as Jimmie Vaughan and Mike Keller. His solo on “Come On In My House” is particularly good. He is also a generous band-leader, shining the spotlight on his band, for example on Williams’ glorious vocals and Purifoy’s haunting keys on “Let’s Straighten It Out” or Rodio’s guitar leads on “Hard Bargain”.
My Life Began To Change also has guest appearances from the legendary Lurrie Bell on vocals and magnificent lead guitar on the Bo Diddley-esque “I Was Wrong” and Chris Foreman on Hammond organ on the title track. Both these songs, together with the upbeat shuffle of “I’ve Been Looking For You” and the slow blues that closes the album, “Come On In My House”, were written by Sansonetto. If one were to level a minor criticism at My Life Began To Change, one could say that there should be more originals (or at least some less-well known covers). Sansonetto is clearly a talented writer and it would be great to hear more of what he has to say.
The album was produced by Rodio and recorded by Brian Leach, both of whom deserve credit for capturing a warm, very “live” sound.
Overall, My Life Began To Change is fine album of modern Chicago blues, peppered with soul and funk influences. It will be fascinating to see what Sansonetto does next but, in the meantime, this is recommended listening.