The most rewarding music invariably emminates from the pen of a musician willing to take chances. Willie May is a musical sponge that takes from the musical spectrum to create his wholly original vision. His multi-instrumentalist approach lends variety to his songs. Having a gruff voice portrays a certain urgency in his lyrics.
Gospel meets country blues on the Dobro and accordion driven “Riverside Blues”. Hints of Captain Beefheart’s delivery surface in the vocal. “Geraldine” is an ode to a “tough as nails” girlfriend that packs a gun and a razor. The tune also features the almost ever-present Dobro.
Evan Laedke’s organ and electric piano are heavily featured on the gospel-tinged “Back To Glory”. A menagerie of characters passes through the “Blues Parade”; set to a reggae beat and featuring Willie on kalimba(thumb piano). Where else would you find a lyric like- “She took out half her teeth and gave me half a smile”. Five year old Regan Rickard collaborates on the lyrics with Willie on a tale of a school day gone bad-“Jason Twisted My Arm”.
Accordion provides the backdrop Willie’s whiskey soaked vocal on the easy loping “Sometimes”. Willie’s jaw harp gives a unique bent to “Thirty Days”, a rough and tumble blues about getting back to his girl. Dobro and harmonica chug this one along quite nicely. The narrator’s senses “leave the building” in the hard-charging rocker “On Vacation”, with Willie’s electric guitar leading the assault.
Strummed acoustic guitar underpinned by mellow electric guitar closes the festivities out on a mellow note with ” Everything Is Alright”.
The vision shared here is a quite unique and challenging effort offering many rewards. Willie’s style can’t be “pigeon-holed”, as various musical currents visit any particular tune. The supporting musicians add to the atmospherics without being obtrusive. This being his fourteenth CD, Willie seems to have an endless imagination to draw from.