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Shane Dwight - A Hundred White Lies

R-Tist Records

12 songs; 49:57 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Roots Rock, Soulful Americana, Rock and Roll, Jazzy Rhythm & Blues, Contemporary Blues, Blues-Rock, Alt-Country

When it comes to seasonings, the three basics are salt, pepper, and Nashville. Nashville has added flavorings to songs by diverse artists from Bob Dylan to Neil Young to Delbert McClinton to, now, Shane Dwight. Originally from California, Dwight is now a Nashville resident, and his seventh studio CD is loaded with a little more twang in the guitar, a slight drawl in some vocals, and a whole lot more vocal harmonies and melody in the mix.

Born on the East Side of San Jose in Morgan Hill, California, Shane Dwight, over the past 10 years, has performed over 2,000 live shows, released seven CDs, been a repeat performer on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruises, and performed at some of the biggest music festivals around the world. Yet, he has flown under the radar of many Blues fans who know him by name only. That’s about to change!

Moving to Nashville three years ago brought mixed results. On the plus side, Shane signed a record deal, enrolled with a major booking agency, and became connected with top-notch managers, producers and musicians (Delbert McClinton’s crew on this CD).

On the down side, it put a huge stress on his marriage. Constant touring and road separation from his wife proved to be too much, for both of them. Crushed by their separation, eventual divorce, and his own culpabilities, Shane began writing these soul-baring songs. Eleven of the twelve cuts are originals written during that sad, dark period. The best emotional songwriting is known to flow from an ailing artist’s soul. “She Struts 22” is about the temptations that all touring artists go through. “Love’s Last Letter” and “Broken” are songs written about the pain of separation; and “True Love’s Gone” sums it all up.

The most accessible song musically is the first track, "Call Me." The Jazzy number is as ready for radio as a jack rabbit is for a date. Suave yet shameless, this opening anthem will grab listeners by the ears AND feet. It's a full-production number, swinging with Dwight's creative, growling guitar, Kevin McKendree's killer keyboards, and Bekka Bramlett's beautiful background vocals. This song highlights the often-overlooked fact that bands are ensembles. When everyone plays together in balanced harmony, with no heroes, a Blues miracle happens!

Being the title track, one might rightly suspect that "A Hundred White Lies" packs a wallop. Correct, but the main power is in the lyrics. Musically, it is ominous and understated, putting one in mind of a sneaky marauder. It's a ballad about cheating, and the "hundred white lies" unfaithful lovers tell: "He told her the first one, so not to break her heart. It spared her that pain, but that was just the start. He told one more about where he'd been, [and] didn't hear the door when the devil came in...." With the desperate plea of "just one more, just one more!," Shane Dwight drives home the point that deceit becomes a habit until it’s too late.

Rock and roll will never die, even on Blues albums! "Love's Last Letter" is an exuberant throwback to the “Let It Bleed” days of the Rolling Stones, carrying fans on a whirlwind roller-coaster ride. It has a tempo drag racers would love, relentless intensity, Bekka Bramlett's incredible background vocals, and a hidden warning in the chorus: "Crying all night will make you feel better. The arms of another are giving you shelter. Your mama always said you could do better...." If listeners lay the lyrics aside and lose themselves in the music, they'll find that their dancing shoes won't stop moving.

"Black Ice" is dangerous for vehicles, and when it comes in female form, for unsuspecting touring artists, too! After helping out a gorgeous tavern patron, the narrator of this song finds he's "backsliding" at breakneck speed: "Closing time at the bar, you had too much to drink, you wanted to leave your car. You smiled at me, and then I knew this might be a hand I was bound to lose. You're just BLUES! You're bad NEWS!" There's "one in every bar," as Shane Dwight cautions, who "doesn't have a problem wrecking your home tonight...." The lyrics here are just as addicting as Dwight's wickedly-good guitar refrain.

"Love That's True" is a peppy number as close to “pure blues” as Dwight comes on this CD. Featuring Shane's slide guitar talents and deft acoustic and Dobro work from both Kevin McKendree and Rob McNelley, this song marries Blues and Country with the delightful vocals of the McCrary Sisters--Ann, Regina, and Alfreda. The chorus girls cry "Whoa, whoa, whoa--boy, can I come with you?" However, Dwight dismisses them with a backwoods gentleman's flair: "No, no, no--I'm waiting on a love that's true."

Sure, there will be those who prefer Memphis Blues spice instead of Nashville’s, but if you ever loved Rock and Roll, you will dig this album. Shane Dwight’s unabridged honesty in telling his story has translated into songs emotionally and musically addicting for the rest of us, too.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL. Amy Walker contributed to this review. To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE.

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