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Music Review: Dani Wilde: Heal My Blues

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Could this be the first wave of a new British Invasion? One can hope, especially if there are more like Dani Wilde waiting in the wings. Heal My Blues is short, only 39:24, but it’s a good sampler package of what this emerging artist can render. Of the 11 tracks, eight were penned by Wilde.

Heal My Blues is a high energy, soul-influenced, jazzy, blues-rock CD that could use a teaspoon or two of sedateness. Wilde is a young voice who, for a blues belter, needs a little seasoning, and perhaps tighten her focus somewhat by deciding in which direction she wants to go. All the selections are well-executed, but a tightened focus will permit record buyers to choose more easily. Indecision and doubt are sales-killers, and the objective here is for Wilde to sell her talents, of which she has many. Wilde adequately and respectably covers all these genres, but she should limit future CDs to one general style. If she wants to continue pursuing all of them, put out several CDs rather than one, and dedicate each to one, perhaps two, genres, say straight-ahead blues, or blues-rock, or jazz-blues. Regardless, have blues in there somewhere!

Blues demands a more mature (but not sedate!) approach compared to what the average 19-year-old listens to, and the genre should be treated accordingly. Blues songs are stories about emotions, pain, humor, love, hate. Interpret those emotions rather than use these same songs as a showcase to display those emotions. And lots of Southern Comfort and Marlboro therapy! [That’s humor, folks. No offense intended.]

Dani’s brother Will certainly knows how to cut loose on harmonica, but he (or the arranger) also is talented enough to know when the harp needs to be a support instrument, rather than a lead instrument. He adds a strong counterpoint to several selections. Morg Morgan on keys, Mike Griot (an appropriately cool name for a bluesman) on bass, and Denis Palatin on drums together form a formidable, tightly-knit group. The fourth cut, “I Love You More Than I Hate Myself,” is a slow, steady-rolling, kickass tune where the entire cast, vocals and instruments, stretch out and show their chops. Wilde’s voice goes from a murmur to something any self-respecting blues-belter can tack on her resume, while the harmonica fades and screams in the appropriate places, with Wilde’s electric guitar cutting loose four minutes into the song. My second favorite.

A lot can be done with “People Like You,” which is the closing track and my favorite on the disc. As it stands, it’s an absolutely stunning composition. With some serious woodshedding, however, Wilde can make an entire career out of this one selection alone [Watch out, Percy Sledge!]. Expand it; instead of 3:01, make it 30:01 (Not really, but stretch it out.), add some high lonesome harp (Hey, brother Will!), but not so much as to change the leanness and simplicity of this highly emotional song. Maybe even an a cappella start, with gradual introduction of the guitar and harmonica? Wilde’s got the voice for it, and with the lean acoustic guitar, she’s got a near-perfect combination. The possibilities of this one song are limitless. Work on it, girl, and you shall be rewarded.

Wilde hasn’t headlined at the Royal Albert Hall as yet, but she has played there along with her brother Will in support of other musicians. I think it’s a precursor of what’s in store, for the Wildes and for us.

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About Lou Novacheck