Billy Ray Deiz, Mighty Girl

Longtime TV and radio personality, Billy Ray Deiz, has gone from commentary on the music industry to full immersion within it. Riding the 2011 release of The Nashville Tracks, Deiz has released the four-track EP, Mighty Girl–and amalgam album replete with all the groove and soul of R&B; the swagger of horn-laced, radio friendly rock and a healthy dose of bolstering blues.

“Gimme Cracked Corn” MP3:

Title track “Mighty Girl” opens to simple percussion and gradually builds with the addition of backing organ and Deiz’s vocals. At the chorus, horns and backing vocals join the fold and eventually give way to intermittent blues guitar riff work. Overall, the track feels like period Chicago or a down tempo Earth, Wind and Fire tune sans the funk facet. The fact that the song weighs in at 6:00 also allows for a full illustration of the various instrumentation. Blues guitar opens “Rather Have Sooner” with Deiz crooning the opening lyrics with accompanying organ. Percussion and the horn section join in as the track begins to take on a groove feel that could have easily been a long, lost Yellow Jackets song. The brass vein that runs through the track is exemplary and who doesn’t love the sexy honk of a saxophone from the middle through to the outro? The bluesy intro continues with “Daddy’s Comin’ Home” only Deiz vocal delivery is bolstered with the addition of backing vocals lending a Gospel element to the track. The lead guitar wails (Bonnie Raitt’s guitarist, George Marinelli) and piano/organ interplay serve as nice segues between the verses. Finally, the instrumental version of the title track rounds out the album and allows the instrumentation to stand at the forefront and proves that this track is strong enough to stand on its own merit with or without the addition of vocals. It sounds like it could easily be a Medeski, Martin and Wood B-side meets dirty blues guitar a la Warren Haynes.

The standout facet of the four tracks is Deiz ability to gradually allow the songs to come into their own. Initially, one or two instruments stand at the foreground but as the song moves along, it builds and builds until the pieces become a cohesive whole. The prowess of the players on the album and the flawless engineering make Mighty Girl a mighty good listen.        

Christopher West –

[Rating: 3.5/5]

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