The Paul DesLauriers Band – Bounce
Bros Records/VizzTone Label Group VT-BROS11901
13 songs – 59 minutes
Paul DesLauriers and his three-piece group of blues rockers have been pretty quiet since their most recent previous CD, Relentless, captured entertainer, electric band, bassist and percussionist of the year at the 2017 Maple Blues Awards, Canada’s highest honors. But fans of the Montreal-based band can rejoice because this super-tight album picks up where the last one left off.
One of the most highly decorated bands ever to emerge from the Canadian blues scene, the unit just missed winning the International Blues Challenge in 2016, finishing second in the voting to California’s Delgado Brothers. But they’ve been making major waves on both sides of the border ever since.
The band’s fronted by Ontario native DesLauriers, a talented and inventive guitarist and clear-throated vocalist, who was a co-founder of the rock band Black Cat Bone, which produced several well-received albums in the ‘90s. He launched this unit earlier this decade after a solo career that found him recording and touring with Bryan Lee, Johnny Ferriera, Amanda Marshall and future IBC winner Dawn Tyler Watson.
The award-winning lineup here includes drummer Sam Harrisson and bassists Greg Morency and Alec McElcheran, DesLauriers’ longtime songwriting partner, who filling the chair fulltime now that Morency has left to pursue another musical adventure. Adding to the mix are Lance Anderson, who sits in on organ for two cuts, and Florida-based IBC winner JP Soars, who provides six-string on one of his own originals that the band covers.
The album was captured by Harrisson at his Sam’s Tone Studio in Canada and by Chris Peet at Man of War Studios in West Palm Beach, Fla., and includes 11 originals and one additional cover culled from Peter Green’s time with Fleetwood Mac. DesLauriers lays down multiple guitar tracks on several of the songs, adding to the aural dynamics.
“Here We Go” opens quietly and runs for 28 seconds before flowing into “It’s All on You,” a rocker that builds quickly after DesLauriers lays down a repetitive, funky riff. It’s the first of a succession of uptempo love songs, which isn’t surprising when you discover that Paul married Houston-based soul-blues star Annika Chambers a few weeks before this CD hit the street.
That tune suggests that “you can be my light/I’ll be your helpin’ hand” before Harrisson’s drumbeat kicks off “Let Me Go Down in Flames,” the admission that, after having been burned in the past, the singer’s been reluctant to commit himself to love, something that’s about to change in a dramatic way.
The theme continues with “Take Me to the Brink,” a rapid-fire number that opens with a Western feel, but instantaneously erupts into an intense burner. The tempo slows slightly for the medium-fast Southern-rocker shuffle, “Happy Wasting Time with You,” before “Driving Me Insane” finds DesLauriers reflecting on “a kiss in the night…a risky game…a dangerous game.”
A cover of “Jumpin’ at Shadows,” penned by British blues legend Duster Bennett and popularized by Green in the ‘60s, slows the action down dramatically, but fits perfectly with what’s come as it reconsiders all of the decisions the singer’s made previously in love and life. DesLauriers’ mid-tune solo is a true-blue pleaser.
The action heats up again for the rocker “Working My Way Back Home” before Soars joins the action for “Picked a Bad Day,” which recounts car problems and poverty that coincide with deciding to start drinking atop a hard-driving beat. The mood brightens again for “When the Darkness Comes” and the singer can sense that his lady’s getting close. The message continues in the uptempo shuffle “Feeling All Kinds of Good” before the barebones instrumental “Loosy Goosy Jam #769” and the 10-minute, organ-driven ballad “Waiting on You” bring the action to a close.
Blues comes in all shades, and The Paul DesLauriers Band definitely delivers for anyone who prefers their music at the harder side of the blues spectrum. Hard-driving and in-your-face throughout – and a must-have for anyone whose tastes also run to rock.