Dyer Davis – Dog Bites Back
13 tracks/56 minutes
Dyer Davis is only 22 years of age. With his debut album for the WildRoots Records label he delivers a truly memorable set of new tunes penned by him and the band members on the album. He blends blues, rock and soul while singing with deep feeling and playing some seriously nice guitar.
Davis’ bio says he spent eight years a a rocker, so he obviously started very young and early. Influenced by his father who fed him 1960’s and 1970’s music, he gravitated to the blues-ier side of things with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart instilling blues rock into his soul. There really is a throwback feeling to many of these tracks that put me in my old musical comfort zone of early, harder blues rock from my youth.
Dyer impressed WildRoots Record producers Billy Chapin and Stephen Dees and was invited to appear on the well-done album WildRoots Session Volume 2 in 2021. He was then invited to produce his own album with a superb cast of WildRoots “family” musicians.
The core trio here is Davis on vocals and guitars, David Weatherspoon on drums and Jacob Barone on bass. Victor Wainwright adds piano to a trio of cut and shares the lead vocals on a song. Stephen Dees shares in the bass guitar work, adds rhythm guitar and keys to a track on each, backing vocals on two cuts and adds percussion. Billy Chapin also adds rhythm guitar to four songs, slide to another, and organ or keys to seven other tracks. Patricia Anne Dees plays tenor sax and flute on a couple of cuts and also adds her backing vocals to those songs. Lastly, Billy Dean lays drums on six tracks.
Special guest abound. Stan Lynch (drums), Mark Early (baritone sax), Doug Woolverton (trumpet), Joe Young (trumpet) Dave Mikeal (pianos), and Walter Andrews (dobro) all do an outstanding job in support of this outstanding album. The WildRoots folks always do a a super job producing great music and have great regular and guest musicians on their album.
“Let Me Love You” opens the album. It’s a very cool rocking blues that opens with just vocals and guitars before getting into a driving and vibrant groove. Davis sings with passion and plays some wicked guitar, something he does throughout this album. It’s got a 1970’s blues rock vibe that seems to be the theme for the CD. Wainwright and Davis trade some licks on piano and guitar and set a great tone for their new album. Next is “Walk Away My Blues,” a sweet midtempo shuffle with more fine guitar and piano work. Davis again impresses with some stellar vocal work. A slower piece follows entitled “Water Into Wine” where Davis pays homage to the Lord. I first listened to this with my wife and she and I simultaneously said the overall sound of the musical part of the cut reminded us a little of “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Davis sings with reverence and emotion here where he and his base trio lay out some fine work to enjoy. “Cryin’ Shame” is a song about broken relations with a somber feel to it. Restrained guitar and emotive vocals build a bit as we go along; it’s another fine, new song. Joe Young adds trumpet here and the next track to good effect.
“Train Wreck” featured really passionate vocals by Davis and a great rocking vibe overall. “Lifting Up My Soul” is an uplifting and soulful song delivered with feeling. Davis sings about his love getting hm through the foibles of the world. Patricia Dees adds some beautiful backing vocals to the track and Davis picks out some equally fine licks delivered with nice pacing and feeling. Victor Wainwright shares the lead vocals on “Long Way To Go.” It’s a song about the Old Testament Patriarchs who fought adversity and took the long term in their walk through life to overcome that adversity. They make comparisons to today where societally we still have a long way to go. Wainwright plays some vibrant stuff on piano as does Davis on guitar.
Next we have “Wind Is Gonna Change” with Walter Andrews adding dobro. It’s a pretty duo that he and Davis begin. Drums and percussion get added as does Chapin’s slide guitar and a little bass. Well done! The title track follows that. This cut is about a worker fighting back from being treated like a dog; Davis sings and plays with great emotion about standing up for what’s right and warns his boss about just what the title says.
“Angels Get The Blues” has some pretty piano by Dave Mikeal; this one’s a great and simple cut with vocals and piano up front that comes off very well. It reminds me a little of the style of Elton John. A little past the midpoint we get a pretty guitar solo added and there is a nice organ thread in the back supporting the cut nicely, giving it a bit of a churchy feel.
“These Walls” has Chapin on keys in a cut that has a ‘70’s vibe again. A little funk, a little rock, and a little blues that all mixes up well. Doug Woolverton’s trumpet also helps make this cool as Davis sings and plays with feeling and the organ again adds a beautiful vibe to the piece. “Don’t Tell My Mother” is a an updated, rootsy sort of cut as Davis instructs the listener not to upset his mother to inform her of his passing. Mikeal is on Wurlitzer piano and there is some fun percussive stuff, too.
The final track is “AKA” where Davis tells us how some folks perceive him as a bad fellow (or as he says, a “lost cause”). He plays some stinging guitar and again sings emotionally as he tells us he’s changed. A slow tempo song, Davis delivers another winner as he sings and plays with true feeling. Dees again adds some nice backing vocals to take us home along with Davis.
This is an exceptional album. The first time through I thought what a fine soulful blues rock CD it was. The second time through I was even more impressed and with each listen I hear more and more that tells me this is a really great piece of work. I most highly recommend it and I have a feeling that folks will take notice of this album when the next sets of awards start coming out – it really is a superb album!