Azalea City Records
11 songs – 47 minutes
Let In The Sun is the fourth album from singer and songwriter, Patty Reese. Reese has long been highly-regarded in her home area of Washington DC and the mid-Atlantic region, having previously won 17 Washington Area Music Association “WAMMIES”, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Roots Rock Vocalist. If this reviewer were a betting man, he’d be happy to stake a large sum on Let In The Sun adding to Reese’s awards collection.
Reese wrote nine of the tracks on the album, running the gamut from blues to rock, soul and gospel. Avoiding clichés but remaining firmly within a genre is a tricky balancing act but one which Reese pulls off with apparent ease. The opening track, “Is It Too Late For Me?”, hints at a 1960s-influence with its echoey, haunting descending guitar riff reminiscent of Creedence Clearwater Revival underneath an ascending single note Hendrix/Blackmore-style riff. Indeed, the influence of the better songwriters of the late-60s and early-70s is noticeable in a number of songs, both in relation to structure and performance.
The loping flat tire shuffle of “Your Love” for example cleverly avoids an obvious 12-bar structure, while the 70’s-style funk of “Soul Satisfier”, with its key changes, wah-wah guitar and grooving horn section, is hard to listen to without wanting to get up and dance.
Reese’s band comprises Jonathan Sloane on guitar, bassist Sonny Petrosky, drummer Andy Hamburger and Tommy Lepson on keys (Lepson also co-produced the album with Reese), with guitarist David Chappell and keyboardist Brian Simms contributing to “Open The Window, Let The Sun In.”
Sloane takes the majority of solos, laying down some excellent slide guitar on the likes of “Is It Too Late For Me?” and the primarily acoustic “I Hear A Lie”. He is happy for his solos to roam outside the usual blues scales on tracks like the sultry “I Won’t let You Down” while playing very much within the box on the good-natured “Good Neighbour” on which Reese sets out her perfectly reasonable expectations of her neighbours as she sings: “I need a good neighbour, to respect my privacy. I need a good neighbour, who’ll keep an eye on me. I need a good neighbour, who’ll check on me when the lights go out. I need a good neighbour who won’t try to tell me what it’s all about.”
The gospel-blues of “Open The Window, Let In The Sun” is a joyous affirmation of optimism and belief, while the upbeat soul-blues of “Radio Song” has echoes of Delbert McClinton or Bonnie Raitt. The Louisiana-flavoured “Awesome Sauce” has fine funky percussion from Hamburger and more tasty slide guitar from Sloane.
The two covers on the album are, interestingly, placed at the end. Reese and her band turn Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” into a soul ballad with spot-on organ by Lepson before closing with a magnificent reading of Steve Earle’s heartbreaking “Goodbye”.
With a crack band, some sparkling compositions, a couple of deftly-chosen covers and top notch production, Let In The Sun is a blues-rock album that leans closer to blues than to rock. It is also an excellent party album to accompany those longer days as the sun shines brighter.