Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers – Hot Mess
Blues Kitty Records
Pacific Northwest vocalist Michele D’Amour and her band had a great run of music production and success and then the Pandemic hit. Their 2020 plans, like with so many other musicians, were dashed and they hunkered down. They spent two years rewriting material and adapting their sound with a new guitarist and drummer and have now produced a great new CD. Ten original tracks are included and a cool cover are featured on this album.
Michele is from the Seattle area as is Patrick McDanel, the bassist. Richard Newman from Memphis went to become their guitar player and Kitchner, Ontario, drummer Carl Martin joined the band, too. Also playing here are Noel Barnes on saxophones, Tom Worrell on piano (two tracks) and Philip Woo ads his organ on a cut; D’Amour penned nine of the new songs and Newman wrote the other.
The album begins with the title track. It’s funky, has tons of Wah Wah pedal and saxophone. The cut is D’Amour giving advice to a girlfriend who needs to turn her life around. “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” follows, which features a deep bass and guitar groove. D’Amour takes Dr. John’s tune and gives it her own dark take on it, chanting voodoo and other dark stuff, it’s a fun track. “Plum Crazy” is up next, with some more heavy guitar and bass, blending surf rock and some heavy blues. The theme here is a ’46 Ford (depicted on the album cover) with a driving beat as Michele singing with lots of emotion. Next is “Devil In The Dark,” with some more funkiness and rocking stuff. D’Amor sings about the folks who are out there pretending to be and do good but who really are out to mess with us. There is a big, funky guitar solo here to enjoy, too.
“If The Shoe Fits” delivers some more heavy guitar and some great sax licks, too. We get some pretty piano to savor on “Helping Hand.” D’Amour sings about doing the best we can do and not to judge each other. “Helping Hand” continues the gritty vocal work in a down tempo piece; here we get some nice organ backing and a baritone sax solo to enjoy. “It Won’t Break My Heart” picks up the pace in a broken relationship song; the beat may be peppy but the lyrics certainly are not. Another nice sax solo is delivered here, followed by a stinging guitar solo.
“Cold Red Sun” is a tune about the devastation of forest fires out west. The band delivers it with a rumba which helps set the tone for this dark themed cut. A pair of fine guitar solos are featured on this song, one in the middle and one to take us home. “Nurse With A Purse” is a cut about a sugar mama, where D’Amour sings with some humor to us about a kept man. The sax and guitar are once again well done. “Your Dachshund Won’t Leave Me Alone” features a Crescent City sound with Michele describing the wicked little dog she is not too fond of. There is more super sax work, some grimy guitar, and some delightful piano which serve well to close out a fine album.
There is a lot to like here. D’Amour’s vocals are controlled and balanced, delivering power when she needs to and offering restraint when appropriate. The electric and steel guitar work are super, the backline is steady, solid, and funky and the horns and keys ad nice dimensions to the music. I enjoyed this album of rocking and funky blues. It is Michele’s seventh album and she and the new band have done an outstanding job producing new music for blues fans to enjoy!