The four-piece group featuring Victor on piano (or Piana as he describes it) blends some boogie with some Cajun and blues. A capable cast of “Extended Roots Members” supports the disc. The bulk of the songwriting goes to bassist Stephen Dees and Victor. The 14-track release has some Dr. John feel to it, including the vocals, starting off with the first track Mighty Man. Planet Earth has a good vibe with a bit of Hammond and some female backing vocals thrown in for good measure. Sold Down River has a Robert Johnson acoustic plucking thing going on, with some mild harp in the background. Fortunately, for everyone involved, the harp is used sparingly throughout. You all know the joke, “What’s the difference between a harmonica and an accordion? It takes longer to burn an accordion!”
In looking for the ballad section, Blues In The Rain is a nice slow paced track, and Not Afraid features mainly acoustic melody. What You Want carries on the Nawlin’s tradition with a Neville Bros. styled track. Wildroot Jam has some interesting funk bass lines and guitar work, with well-used horn accompaniment. Square features Patricia Ann Dees on offsetting vocals, and is reminiscent of a Tom Waits song treatment. Beale Street To The Bayou is the fastest paced boogie on the disc. The group also does a good cover of Ray Charles’ What’d I Say.
I was apprehensive before listening, but liked the change of speed and pace throughout the disc. The release holds your interest, as it doesn’t stereotype one particular song or style. Good guitars, bass, keys, drums, and vocals from start to finish.
Throw some “Gris, Gris” in the air, and give it a spin on the old CD machine!
By R.M. Engelman[Rating: 3.5/5]