CD: 8 Songs, 25:17 Minutes
Styles: Blues Covers, Duo Album
Time for a nursery rhyme! “I had a little nut tree. Nothing would it bear, but a silver nutmeg and a golden pear. The King of Spain’s daughter came to visit me, and all for the sake of my little nut tree.” What on Earth does this have to do with the blues? Here are some more queries: Why do performing artists release albums and conduct live shows? Do they only do it for the love of the music? Did the King of Spain’s daughter come to visit the hero of this rhyme only because she loved him? In both cases, the answer is no. The princess wanted the silver nutmeg and golden pear. In the case of LA and FL’s Rault and Sweetwater, releasing their self-titled new offering, one of their motivations is most likely “money.” “Musos” have to eat, whether fruit or otherwise. As to whether they feel the eight covers they’re playing here, that’s up for debate. The best feature of this CD is Jimmy Sweetwater’s harmonica, more than a cut above the rest. As for Rault? If his guitar riffs were a lot more passionate and a lot less basic, they’d be a hit, too. On vocals, they’re practiced workmen, not artistes. They get the job done – no more, no less.
In the “Press Kit” section of their website, a sparse paragraph explains who they are and what their aim is on this scene: “Jeb Rault hails from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jimmy Sweetwater hails from Gainesville, Florida. Together they combine their music forces and their new CD is scheduled to be released in 2017…They are available for touring and festival and club dates.” Photos and videos of their songs follow. This reviewer was hungry to know more about these two: How did they get their start in the blues? What got them on the road – especially some tour dates in California? Whom do they consider their greatest influences? That kind of information belongs in a “Press Kit” too. As it is, Rault and Sweetwater remain near-enigmas to Ms. Rainey.
Robert Johnson is one of the world’s most renowned blues artists, and our guitar and harp heroes give one of his most popular hits a go:
Track 08: “Malted Milk” – Back when I was a little girl, I thought Johnson was singing about a different sort of malted milk, specifically the kind used in Whoppers® candies. My dad had to explain that, no, R.J. was actually singing about whiskey. No wonder he kept drinking it, “trying to drive my blues away.” The thing with alcohol is, those blues come back in painful hangovers and worse. Nevertheless, such “malted milk” has timeless appeal for those who wish to ease their misery. Speaking of which, Jimmy’s harmonica soars sky-high in the middle of this cover.
Rault and Sweetwater are a determined duo, and with time, they might become truly dynamic!