CD Done with the Devil * (CD 4648672),
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Done with the Devil *

  • 1. Done with the Devil
    2. Sweet Loving
    3. Holler for Craig Lawler
    4. Broken Toy
    5. Ptryptophan Pterodactyl
    6. I Turned into a Martian
    7. As Long as I Have You
    8. How It Come to Be
    9. Life of Denial
    10. Afro Blue
    11. Keep the Wolf from My Door
    12. Enlightenment
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 505

  • Credits
    ProducerPhillip Wolfe
    EngineerPhillip Wolfe

    Personnel: Jason Ricci (vocals, harmonica, background vocals); Shawn Kellerman (guitar); Shawn Starski (electric guitar, background vocals); Todd Edmunds (sousaphone, upright bass, background vocals); Ed Michaels (drums, snare drum, dumbek, background vocals); Dr. Rudy Miller (drums, congas, timbales, percussion); Brady Mills (background vocals).
    Audio Mixer: Phillip Wolfe.
    Liner Note Author: Jason Ricci.
    Recording information: Shadow Lane Studio, Nashville, TN.
    Photographer: Joshua Temkin.
    The three pages of liner notes squished into eye-straining type that greet the purchaser of Jason Ricci and his band's highly anticipated follow-up to their roaring 2007 debut for the appropriately named Eclecto Groove label, boil down to this: it's a group effort with Ricci as only one component, and the members understand that their genre-mashing approach is not strictly blues, but they don't care. There's a lot more, of course, but one listen to this set that shifts from good-timey shuffles such as the sunshiny "Sweet Lovin'" to the jazz-rock fusion of the following "Holler for Craig Lawler" and the Latin influenced instrumental "Ptryptophan Pterodactyl" is enough to convince any newcomer that Ricci and co. can successfully infiltrate just about any style of music they please. There's an underlying blues base to everything, even the excursions into hard rock with a frenzied cover of Glenn Danzig's punky "I Turned into a Martian," and it's what grounds, but never shackles, the unit. Ricci's frantic harp lines and somewhat forced yet effective vocals provide the focus as he and the three-piece traipse through their diverse musical playground. Further covers from Willie Dixon (a straight-ahead "As Long as I Have You" that finds Ricci singing like he's channeling the ghost of Jim Morrison), a nearly nine-minute version of Mongo Santamaria's classic "Afro Blue," and Sun Ra (a dark, oompah, circus-styled "Enlightenment" with parts that seem to be rescued from a Tom Waits nightmare) show the sheer range contained in the foursome's eclectic attack. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Phillip Wolfe keeps the sound centered, stripping it down on the opening title track rocker while adding subtleties and twists such as organ, percussion, and female backing vocals on an as needed basis. Guitarist Shawn Starski acts as a foil to Ricci's harmonica pyrotechnics, riding shotgun -- musically and as a songwriter -- and keeping his own flashy tendencies subdued, perhaps overly so. Bassist Todd Edmunds also co-writes a song, the creeping Ricci autobiographical "Broken Toy," and occasionally adds his sousaphone skills to the proceedings. It's a combustible combination and, as anyone who has seen them live can attest to, it explodes on-stage. The trick is to translate that energy and diversity into the studio, a far more difficult task than it seems, but based on the goods here, one that Ricci and New Blood accomplish with disarming ease. Staunch blues fans may balk at the envelope pushing, but Ricci stays true to both the form and his own wide-ranging conceptual palette. It's a tough balancing act accomplished by a group who, like the early Butterfield Blues Band, is overloaded with talent, passion, and a ton of enthusiasm to stretch musical boundaries into somewhat uncharted territory. ~ Hal Horowitz

  • Critic Reviews
    Dirty Linen (p.60) - "'Broken Toy' is a riveting, soul-bearing song that leaves the listener in awe"
    Living Blues (p.47) - "This is glorious, boundary-pushing stuff. Unquestionably rooted in the blues, Ricci's otherworldly harmonica playing combines the progressive technique of Paul DeLay with the versatility and phrasing of Lee Oskar..."
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