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Dani Wilde - Shine

Ruf Records

11 songs; 52 minutes

Styles: Blues Rock, Jazz-Influenced Blues, Ballads

For a moment, imagine digging through moist sand at the beach. Its tiny granules mostly do one of two things: adhere to one’s palm, or slip through one’s fingers entirely. More often than not, however, a fragment glistens, reflecting the sunlight at just the right moment and making one gasp! This is exactly what happens with the eleven “grains” of song on singer, songwriter, guitarist, and humanitarian Dani Wilde’s third release, “Shine.” Each one of the nine originals and two covers is distinctive if one takes a close-enough look. Produced by legendary British bluesman Mike Vernon, this album is nothing less than a huge achievement. The young Wilde, according to her website, was “brought up in Wiltshire, England on everything from Stax and Motown, to Folk, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Chicago Blues.”

Which tracks Shine the most? Most certainly these three:
Track 4: “How Do You Do It”--This torch number showcases Dani’s lovely high-pitched vocals like no other song on the album. Simply, the girl sounds like a girl -- here accompanying herself on background vocal harmony. Despite the Rolling Stones’ hit “Miss You” preceding it, this is Shine’s first earworm. Every phrase emerges flawlessly, not only from the lead singer’s lips but also from Pete Wingfield’s caressing piano and Laura Chavez’s guitar on a sizzling mid-song solo! The theme is familiar: unrequited love (“Darling, don’t you look at me that way. You know I can’t belong to you…”). However, Wilde’s fresh interpretation of this theme will make listeners hold their partners on the dance floor before it’s too late!

Track 5: “Red-Blooded Woman”--If some blues fans consider themselves purists, they should take heed as Dani proves she’s got more than ice water in her veins! She minces no words, and misses no nearly-operatic notes, as her brother Will “Harmonica” Wilde and guitarist Ben Poole back her up. As the song concludes, listen closely. One might feel a noticeable chill rush down one’s spine as Wilde whispers the final word: “you.” The effect is absolutely magnificent, especially considering her repeated requests beforehand!

Track 7: “I Don’t Even Care”--Another, and perhaps better, title for this song would have been “Fifteen Dollars in my Pocket,” because that’s all that the narrator has left after fleeing from a bad marriage. “You never believed in me. I’m sure you take me for some kind of fool, but you want me to be your wife, clean hospital floors for the rest of my life. You act like you don’t love me at all!” “I Don’t Even Care” reflects not only the blues played or sung, but the blues lived. This reviewer wonders: is it autobiographical? One thing’s sure: it feels more authentic than the next track, “Abandoned Child,” though the latter is sadder.

Mike Vernon, the album’s producer, gives these props to “the artiste herself”: [Dani] has a very individual guitar technique that echoes past ages,” and “Dani gave absolutely everything to these sessions. I was really impressed, and I believe it shows in the final results.” One thing’s for sure: in the blues world, Dani Wilde knows how to Shine!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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