And now from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, the birth place of blues artist Duke Robillard and one semi-proficient music reviewer, comes singer/songwriter Rick Demers.
The Blackstone River meanders through the old mill city of Woonsocket. The wooden textile mills are long gone, but the blue collar culture of the community remains. It is that culture that forms the foundation for the stories of Rick Demers.
His music is a cross between simple blues and a roots sound. He primarily supplements his vocals and acoustic guitar playing with guitarist, bassist, and drummer Jim Kelly, plus fills in the sound with a violin here and some keyboards there. His strength is as a lyricist. The title of the album, Devil’s In The Details, is appropriate as his stories are concise and well-defined. He has a way putting his feelings and thoughts into words that are affecting and entertaining.
He avoids one of the major pitfalls that plague debut albums. He varies the tempos which eliminates a sameness to his music. That is immediately apparent with the first three tracks, “What’s Not to Like,” “Poster Child for the Blues,” and “Devil’s in The Details.” They run the gamut from slow acoustic American blues to some up-tempo folk/rock. He is an acoustic guitarist and uses his backing musicians judicially as he builds his sound to support his stories. He also includes the lyrics in the enclosed booklet.
At its foundation this is a songwriter’s album. “Bad Timing,” as the title suggests, looks at the failings of life and love that are sometimes out of our control. He sings the song with a subtle resignation. “Poster Child for the Blues” is one of only two non-original tunes on the album. He adds some extra lyrics to Marjorie Thompson’s blues epic. It emerges as an autobiographical statement of why he sings the blues. “Paradise Lost” is a wonderful tale of searching. While the stories take the listener in many directions, the album ends on a positive note with “Perfect World,” which looks to a better future.
Rick Demers has released an interesting and alluring album. Devil’s In The Details is a journey through the mind and soul of someone who grew up in an old mill town along the Blackstone River in Northern Rhode Island and is worth a listen.