Michele Biondi – Down By The River
Michele Biondi is an Italian bluesman who delivers to us ten new tracks, nine of which he wrote himself. A native of Tuscany in Italy, Biondi spent time working with Texas-based blues singer Ray Cashman and harmonica player Stan Street. Their collaboration begun in Mississippi six years ago gave rise to Biondi’s blues career. This is his third album (second solo release) and showcases his songwriting, guitar and vocals. In addition to Michele on vocals and guitar, Biondi’s trio is comprised of Giovanni Grasso on bass and Antonio Marchesani on drums and percussion.
The album opens to the driving strains of the title track. Biondi sings and plays with emotion. He’s a good guitar player and he really “gets” the blues. “Lonely and Lost” follows with some more driving and rocking blues. “The Jail” takes a slower approach as Biondi turns down the RPM and gives us a more country/southern rock flavor on this one. His tilting Italian accent gives this down home cut an interesting twist. He offers some more nice solo work on his guitar here, too. “Brotherhood” continues with the country blues feeling. “Too Much Weight” gets back into the rocking blues mode as Biondi does another great job on his guitar.
“Crosseyed Blues” gives us Biondi doing some Chicago blues and he gets and funky with it. Biondi lays out some pretty slide on the next track, laying out a great groove on “Right Now.” “Moving To Texas” has vocal coach Matt backing Biondi here (he also wrote the next cut). It’s got a rockabilly feel to it and Biondi wails on his guitar, showing his prowess on the instrument. “Angel of the City” follows, another country blues with a sorrowful sound on both vocals and guitar. Biondi concludes with “No Regrets” where he switches things up and break out his resonator. He does a nice job here and delivers a down home blues performance.
The songs and musicality are really good here. The vocals are strained a bit as Biondi tries hard to sing like an American bluesman. It’s not really the Italian accent but more the nasal style that seems to turn a little pitchy here and there. Lyrically and musically, Biondi has created some fine songs. His guitar work is solid and the overall production is well done. Perhaps he’s trying too hard vocally to be something he’s not. All in all, Biondi does a decent job and has written and performed ten new tracks delivered in his unique style.