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Debbie Davies – After The Fall
Guitarist/vocalist Debbie Davies is a road warrior consistently touring and releasing CDs, and she has got it down to a fine craft of what constitutes quality music.
Having cut her teeth as a side-woman playing second guitar in the legendary Albert Collins’ band decades ago, Davies struck out on her own in the early 90’s to cultivate a solo career that has blossomed. Her many solo releases have culminated in a pleasurable one found in After The Fall.
With original songs by Debbie and longtime drummer Don Castagno, After The Fall seems to sum up in its lyrics the trials and hardships Davies has had to endure the last couple of years. So she decides to bounce back by going sometimes outside the box and not getting to stuck in a comfort zone that could otherwise make the music a little stale.
That doesn’t mean Debbie is playing less guitar. The familiar blues lick are there in abundance and Jeremy Baum’s B3 and piano are turned up in the mix of opening blues rocking track “Don’t Put The Blame” high enough to make you realize Davies has returned with a vengeance.
A vengeance that continues in a Davies/Castagno number “The Fall” which is another spunky stomping blues rocking number. Davies has seem to found the perfect working relationship when Castagno. After years of studio work and touring with Davies, he seems to know what makes the woman tick. He’s comfortable giving her a ballad “True Blue Fool” to sing that is not a bad distraction while Davies is still peeling off some beautiful licks. There’s even a touch of Hendrix in the Davies visual of “Little Broken Wing” without going through a major psychedelic overhaul.
Debbie has always had the best handle on doing the Texas type shuffles and “Done Sold Everything” is no exception. It comes with those T-Bone and Collins guitar inflected solos we have come to expect from Debbie and they just never get old.
A track that can become an instant personal favorite is Davies’ own “Goin To A Gaggle.” The lyrics are from a viewpoint of a traveling musician whose eyes see the legendary blues musicians jamming in the bars and taking the party aboard the blues cruises carrying travelers half-way around the globe. You can’t help think that this number would go down like gangbusters live.
The finest material is saved up towards the end of the CD. Paying a heartfelt tribute to the late Robin Rogers, “Down Home Girl” may not mention any names, but one listen to the lyrics and you know Davies is speaking of a friend who was willing to put up a fight during impossible circumstances. And I am taking a guess Debbie is honoring Rogers’ memory again in “R.R. Boogie” that is a little funky blues instrumental cooking enough grease in the skillet to appease any appetite.
This is a solid piece of work and Debbie has not lost her touch. It’s adventurous in some ways yet it doesn’t go too far out. This might be one of the best blues releases this year. It doesn’t do any harm for Davies to take a short hiatus. If anything it results in music that has its roots firmly in the blues.
Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.