Daniel De Vita – Lost in Translation
Lunaria Records – 2021
9 tracks; 32:08
A great slow blues is like a bicycle daring to go as slowly as possible. The excitement, and the risk, is that if you’re too slow on a bike, you’ll topple over. Similarly, bands often push the tempo, afraid the song will fall over if they don’t keep things moving. Singer/guitarist Danie De Vita isn’t afraid to slow things down, which he shows off on Lost in Translation.
Lost in Translation‘s best moments are the more relaxed ones. “6 Years Blues” is a slow blues that isn’t scared to drag. But De Vita and his band thrive within a track where it feels like there’s a little less than a lifetime between each and every beat of the drum. De Vita uses the space to show off his tasty guitar playing and soulful singing.
“My Sweetest Regret” also trundles along, with a skipping beat, augmented with lovely organ work. Even the faithful cover of “D/FW,” from the Vaughan Brothers Family Style, is a bit more laid back than the manic original.
Even though he’s serving as the lead guitarist, De Vita provides plenty of space for his band, allowing organ, piano, and harmonica to take the lead at various points throughout the album. At the same time, he also has plenty of moments where he gets to show off his guitar playing. One such moment occurs on “Black Chicken 37,” a Buena Vista Social Club cover given a funk blue edge that highlights both De Vita and his band. The beauty of the tune is that, like the original, it’s intense but also low-key.
The Argentinian has a distinctly American sound and sensibility which is no accident. His album credits include both a vocal coach and a pronunciation one. The coaching pays off, as there aren’t any tells that De Vita wasn’t born in the American South. And while his voice is higher pitched than many blues singers, his vocal timbre has interesting textures that don’t leave you wanting any bass to flesh out his sound.
De Vita seems to feel some degree of self-consciousness about English not being his first language. You can infer that from the album title and from the cover art, which features pronunciation symbols around his name and the album title. But De Vita nails the blues vibe, creating a solid album of contemporary electric blues. He’s internalized the form and has a unique take on the genre that’s strongly rooted in a classic sound.