Bobby Messano lives on the road. Music is the one constant in what can be best described as a turbulent life. He’s been playing for decades and even did a stint as Steve Winwood’s guitar player and music director. He is an amazing guitar player and a passionate and powerful vocalist. With every album he puts out, I think Bobby has reached his peak this time. But no! And now he has done it again. Just when you think Bobby Messano can’t improve on the magnificent Welcome to Deltaville he does with the excellent Love & Money.
Bobby has been through an inordinate amount of strife in the last few years and he has encountered some very dark days. Like the best artists, he deals with these emotions with honesty, pouring his soul into the songs.. But don’t be expecting dirges here. He marries his darkest lyrics, as on the opening tune “April Showers,” with driving guitar and a perfect blend of rock and blues. It certainly does not hurt that he is backed up by what is undoubtedly the strongest and best group he has ever recorded and toured with. Suavek Zaniesienko on bass, Freddie Gasparini on keyboards and Dave Hollingsworth on drums simply create a perfect storm here,
The title track,, “Love and Money,” decries the twin obsessions that cause so much trouble in the world, but does not fail to offer hope. In fact, no matter how dark things get, Bobby’s music never loses hope and, most often, a wry humor is lurking somewhere about. That hope and humor is evident in “What I Got,” in which Bobby explains exactly what he does and doesn’t have. The funky interplay between Bobby’s guitar and Freddie’s organ really enhance this song as well as “Welcome To My Failed Career,” which contrasts glitter and glitz with real, authentic musicianship.
As an example of how Messano continues to add variety to his sound, “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright” adds fiddles and a country tinge like the best Southern rock of the ’70s. Not bad for a Wisconsin native! He follows it up with a blast from his own past, with a fantastic cover of Winwood’s “Had to Cry Today,” which just happens to fit perfectly with the theme of the album.
These are just some of the highlights on this excellent recording. To summarize: You will not find a better blues-rock album anywhere than Love and Money. Bobby Messano and his band continue to amaze and entertain as well as anyone in the business. Get it now!