Maddy Moneypenny - Maddy Moneypenny
8 songs; 25:45; Splendid
Style: Contemporary blues (with Sean Costello’s last studio work)
Welcome to the Blues all young people! Have you noticed a shift in blues fans’ attitude? For a few years now, I have not heard anyone complain about young people playing the blues. Around 2001 there was outrage at young guitar slingers like Jonny Lang and K.W. Shepherd getting too much undeserved attention and recording deals. Mem Shannon even wrote a song about the unfairness, “Paying My Dues.”
Maybe the majority of the blues fans, mainly aging Baby Boomers, finally realized the importance of youth in keeping the blues alive. Wiser heads knew all along that some of our heroes, like Buddy Guy, Little Walter, and even Sean Costello, were not that old themselves when they recorded some of their best work.
So, with open arms, meet Maddy
Moneypenny from the Atlanta, Georgia area who recorded her first CD
at age 13. Ironically, a former wunderkind from Atlanta, Sean
Costello, added his final studio guitar work to her self-titled
album about 10 days before his tragic passing.
Produced by Dustin Sargent and recorded
by Damien Lewis, “Maddy Moneypenny” features eight songs, all
covers, revealing a young lady with commanding, soulful vocals and a
real feel for a song. Maddy obviously fell in with the right crowd
because a host of amazing musicians are on the CD: Sean Costello and
Oliver Wood of King Johnson on guitar, Kevin Thomas on keys, Dustin
Sargent on bass, Jack Jones on drums, three horns: Will Scruggs, Bob
Lewis, Ken Gregory, and Chandra Leigh McKnight singing backup
Another standout is “Same Old Blues” with Sean Costello providing a stinging guitar solo to match Maddy’s penetrating voice. By mid-song, Kevin Thomas plays an organ solo that is soon joined by Costello as they play off of each other. Then, Maddy adds a third instrument to the rave up – her voice. Sadly, in retrospect, the producer fades the song rather than allow these three to reach a natural end.
Sean Costello did the opening solo for “Voodoo Woman” about 10 days before he died. He also did some of the re-work on “Shaky Ground” as the original guitar went a little out of tune on the opening riff.
The other tracks are: “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Shotgun,” an amazing “You Are My Sunshine,” and a sweet closer, “How Sweet It Is.”
Already a proven good singer, Maddy almost missed an opportunity to start signing the blues, if not for a bribe. According to Maddy’s mother, a $20 bill enticed her to sing at an open jam for students hosted by Chicago Joe Jones at a place named Maddy's Ribs & Blues Joint. At age 10, she sang "The First Cut is the Deepest," and Chicago Joe has been Maddy's mentor and champion ever since.
Fast forward three years: Dustin Sargent (bassist in the Chicago Joe Jones Band) approached Maddy’s mother with the idea of producing a CD. He had Oliver Wood on board and sound engineer Damien Lewis “the man with the golden ears.” When they first went to visit the studio,
Maddy had to miss school time. An “orthodontist” note from “Dr. Lewis” or “Dr. Sargent” covered the trail.
The first studio sessions to lay the rhythm tracks were November 14-15, 2007. Maddy recorded the final vocals in January 2008, just before she turned 14. On the way out to the car, she said with conviction, "This is what I was born to do."
Chicago Joe, Jordan Gonzalez, Keith Otterbeck, and Jack Jones backed up Maddy at the October 19, 2008 Atlanta Blues Challenge in Marietta. The Maddy Moneypenny Band won the People's Choice Award by a landslide, but they came in second place in the band competition to the Patrick Vining Band, which won the key for the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
Maddy Moneypenny has the talent and the conviction, and the door for youth is wide open. Get this CD, and you’ll be able to tell your friends, later, off in her bright future, “I knew her when....”
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL