My impression of Shane Dwight has made a major shift with this album. Having listened to some prior releases and having seen him live a couple of times, his music seemed to be overall much more uptempo in a sometimes country blues shredder-esque sort of way. This new CD This House is much more laid back, thoughtful and introspective and shows a side of Shane I’d not seen much of before. This album has some of that country, lots of blues, a little funk and a good diversity of styles along with some nice, big guitar sounds. The first half of the CD tends to generally (but not always) feature less up front guitar while the second half (beginning with the aptly named “Stepping Stone”) features bigger guitar solos and Dwight’s guitar slinging sound. He solo-penned all but two songs, and those other two he shared writing with Bekka Bramlett, daughter of Delaney and Bonnie. Dwight is joined by Lynn Williams on drums, Kenneth Blevins on drums and percussion, Kevin McKendree on keys and acoustic guitar, Steve Mackey on bass, Doug Lancio on rhythm guitar, Paul Ossola on upright bass for the title cut and Bekka Bramlett who does backing vocals throughout and lead vocals on “It’s Gonna Be Beautiful.”
The CD begins with the title cut, a dark tune about how a house is “haunted” by the memories of the women who left Dwight. A very thoughtful piece with nice keyboard work and percussion adding an air of mystery and sadness to the tune along with Dwight’s vocal efforts. Dwight then unexpectedly gives us a little funk with “We Can Do This,” a cool change from the opening song and a nicely done funky country blues. Bramlett’s backing to Dwight’s lead gives us a nice contrast and Dwight stings on guitar, the first of two big guitar pieces in the front half of the album. “Fool” takes and acoustic turn with another introspective and touching vocal by Shane. “Sing for Me (Search for Sierra)” hearkens back to the slow, gritty blues of old but in a modern way. Again we have great vocals by Dwight and Bramlett that build in intensity and feeling as the song goes on. “It’s Gonna Be Beautiful” features Bramlett leading the vocals and she does a great job. Dwight slides behind her with his guitar and the song again offers a lot of gutsy feelings. Well done! “Devil’s Noose” is a darker tune with a nice guitar solo where Dwight tells of the pull of temptation on us in life.
“Stepping Stone” unleashes the guitar and big time groove. Dwight picks and sings with gusto as the band back him with a driving vibe. A song of traveling down the road after a lost love. The guitar effectively emotes Dwight’s anger with his lost woman. “Never Before” offers up a funky groove where guitar and percussion open up the piece. The band transitions in as Shane tells us how he never before had to crawl for or beg to his women before. We get a little blues shouting with “I’m a Bad Man” as Dwight testifies to us along with his guitar. Dirty ol’ sweet blues here, and I enjoyed them. “Losing Ground” begins with a stinging guitar intro and Dwight goes into a soft ballad. By the middle of he song in chorus Shane is building into more emotion an sound and he closes with another stinging guitar solo. He goes funky again with “Bad For You” which could easily be a Prince song except it’s sung by the darker and grittier Shane Dwight. A huge guitar solo works to help sell this cut. He goes a little country to close with “Crazy Today.” Acoustic and twangy, Dwight and Bramlett take us to church and close out the original album in this bouncy and interesting cut.
I liked the CD and it grew on me more with each listen. If you are a Dwight fan this will please you as you can see him grow in his music. If you are new to him you will gain an appreciation of how this Nashville based artist flavors his blues. Great rootsy stuff with a little soulful funk thrown in makes this a diverse and fun CD to listen to. I think it’s well worth the listen!