15 South Records
10 tracks / 40:28
You may know D.L. Duncan as Dave Duncan, but no matter what you call him he is truly a fine bluesman, with a beautifully soulful voice and an amazing touch on the guitar. Dave has been on the music scene for more than 35 years, and he has made his mark as a gold-record songwriter for other artists (Curtis Salgado, Lorrie Morgan, and Buddy Jewell), but he also writes songs for his own projects. On his albums he has also been pulling in some first class talent to help him in the studio and the results have been solid, to say the least.
His new album, D.L. Duncan, is no exception. On bass there is David Hood, a famed producer (Willie Nelson and Cher) who has played with Traffic, Boz Scaggs, and The Waterboys. The other half of the rhythm section is Vince Santoro on the drums (Rosanne Cash, Charlie Louvin, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). It would be a dream to have Grammy-winner Delbert McClinton on the harp and Sonny Landreth on the slide guitar for your album, and D.L. made this dream come true. And the icing on the cake is the inclusion of Kevin McKendree on the keys and the amazing McCrary sisters on backing vocals. Duncan was the producer and wrote eight of the ten songs on this disc, plus he took care of the vocals and guitars. There is no question that all the right pieces were in place to make this a wonderful record, and blues fans will not be disappointed.
The band kicks off the set with “I Ain’t the Sharpest Marble,” an easy-going blues song with a touch of boogie and heaps of humorous lyrics. D.L. mostly hangs back on the guitar with just a few pointed leads, but he lays down a nice solo midway through. McKendree delivers a fine performance on the piano, bringing the whole thing together into a neat package. The production values are first-rate here, with good mixing and nothing out of place (courtesy of multiple Grammy-winner Tony Daigle), and this work ethic blessedly carries over to the other nine tracks on the disc.
There is not a bad song to be found on the album, but there are a few standouts. One of these is Jerry Lynn Williams’ “Sending Me Angels,” which has been covered by luminaries such as Coco Montoya and Peter Frampton. This countrified soul song is done Duncan’s way, with some tasteful acoustic and resonator guitar playing, a killer beat, and a chorus that is just a bit sweeter because the McCrary sisters pitch in.
Another favorite from D.L. Duncan is an uptempo rhythm and blues tune, “Orange Beach Blues.” This song is orchestrated perfectly, with a wonderful synergy between the McCrary’s harmonies and McKendree’s Hammond. The backline of Hood and Santoro once again lay down a righteous rhythm and Duncan’s guitar work is smooth and soulful (including an Allman-esque close), which plays perfectly with his growly vocals.
All good things have to come to an end, and this time it is with “All I Have to Offer You is Love,” a sweet country blues ballad written by Craig Wiseman that was previously done very well by both Tanya Tucker and Dusty Springfield. The listener will find this song is built with a nice helping of Hammond B3, plenty of Landreth’s slide guitar and some cool pedal steel from David Pinkston. Duncan’s heartfelt lyrics are poignant, and this was a savvy choice to close the album out with.
D.L. Duncan’s new self-titled CD is a well-written, well-played, and well-produced, making it his best record to date and a must-buy for fans of blues and Americana music. He gets around the country quite a bit, so check out his website for the latest tour dates so you can see and hear his act in person. It will definitely be worth your time!