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Derek Davis, Songwriter and Frontman for former “Arista Records” and “Frontiers Records” rock band “Babylon A.D.” released “Resonator Blues” on June 1st 2019.
“Resonator Blues” is Derek’s third solo album after his initial 2012 release “Re-Volt.” His second offering, the 2017 “Revolutionary Soul” ushered in some great Retro Soul’ and was widely praised by music critics and fans alike. In total, Davis has performed and written on twelve albums. With a wide range of influences, Hard Rock, Southern Blues Rock and Old School R&B Soul.
On his latest offering Derek Davis weaves some heavy Delta Blues, Americana, Folk, Hillbilly Twang, Southern Rock, Traditional and Jump Blues all into one.Twelve mesmerizing tracks of undeniable depth that pin the listener’s ears back and demand they sit up and take notice. Bottleneck-Slide is prevalent on nearly all the tracks accompanied by some wailing harmonica and sometimes a blistering Texas Telecaster lead will be heard.This is a multifaceted album, a journey of sorts all rolled into one great magical music ride across America down highway 61.
The vision of Derek Davis, who not only sings and plays all the different guitars and bass on the record, also does a fine job creating a real and unique production that is unmistakably his own sound.
The voice of Derek Davis is uncompromising and unmistakable. He belts out each song with emotion, passion and power, using his amazing gift to reach the listener and weave his tales. The voice is gritty yet melodic and every song is sung as it should be. His guitar work is exceptional, raw, and captivating.
Davis, pens all the tracks except for the two covers on the album, Son House’s “Death Letter” and the Elmore James classic “It Hurt’s Me Too.” He takes these songs to the next level with some tasteful slide playing and he packs the tracks with some great vocal performances. The weeping distorted slide and pain drenched voice of Davis’s version of “It Hurts Me Too” makes one wonder where he found this old soul inside himself. The Dobro inspired “Death Letter“ is so believable it’s is if you’ve been transported back in time and are actually sitting on a front porch listening to the gospel of the Godfather of blues himself, “Son House”.
The ten originals songs that Davis has created make an emotional roll-a-coaster ride, lyrically and musically paying homage too so many different types of American blues music. The title track “Resonator Blues” is an uptempo, slide guitar piece with a playful piano lead in the tradition of early Chicago blues. It's about a snaked tongued, hard drinking woman and a softhearted man at his wits end.
The Southern Hillbilly sound of “Jesus Set Me Free” about two brothers on the South side of the Civil War play out on the battle fields, where “Robert E Lee”, “General Grant” and ‘Stonewall Jackson” come to life! The lyrics’ “Blood On The Cotton Fields, Dead Men In The Grass”, Red Death Here It Come’s”, the story is vividly told. The song is like a script written for a movie. You are there! The song was written and recorded on a 3 string Cigar Box Guitar.
The track “Penitentiary Bound” is a sad and true folk story about a father and daughter separated by the hell of the prison system dividing them. It could have been written by Dylan, Kristofferson, or Arlo Guthrie 40 to 50 years ago.
“Sweet Cream Cadillac” is the first single and video track that has just been released.A 1960s foot stomping, hand clapping, dancing at the hop type of up-tempo song, with a memorable slide-lead played on a Silvertone acoustic. Girls and Cadillac’s, is the story line and fun, fun, fun, is the motor that runs this uplifting piece of swinging blues!
On “Red Hot Mama,” Davis brings some Texas strut. He must have had blisters on his fingers for days from burning the strings on the frets as brazen as Albert Collins ever has. This is a not-stop electric lead killer, accompanied by the ferocious harmonica playing of the legendary “Charlie Knight.”
The song “Mississippi Mud” is about finding the blues down by the Delta as the sound of Muddy Waters pulls you into a Juke Joint and soon with the track “Whiskey and Water” you arrive. As Derek sings, “Get me another drink bartender and pore my friends one too”. Both tracks are similar in that they both provide great story telling with super-charged slide-guitar and gritty harmonica playing.
The tracks “Unconditional Love” and “Back In My Arms” are playful and funny tongue-in-cheek stories about love and hope. Both songs have some great resonator slide-guitar playing and the accompanied harmonica on “Unconditional Love” makes the ride all the more that sweeter.
The last track “Prison Train” is like an updated “Train I Ride” meets “Folsom Prison Blues”. You can feel and hear the iron wheels screeching and rolling into hell where Cool Hand Luke is waiting in the cellblock for ya. All bottleneck and more searing harmonica accompany the voice of Derek Davis. Such a tale of whoa as there ever was.
To sum it all up, Davis has made a hell of an American Blues album. In a day and age where it seems music is made by computers and programmers that have sucked the life out of the music of today, it’s great to find a hidden gem that can and will stand the test of time. Vinyl anyone?