Badder to the Bone
Eliza Neals is an artist who consistently delivers album after album of solidly-written, exquisitely performed blues-rock. Badder to the Bone marks my fourth album from Neals which I have made a point to review, and the title is very much on the mark. She is a total badass in the music world, and this album is indeed badder to the bone. With Neals on lead vocals, piano, and B3, the other musicians on this record are Lance Lopez ( SuperSonic Blues Machine, Lucky Peterson) and Billy ‘JC’ Davis (Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Jimi Hendrix) on guitar, Peter Keys (Lynyrd Skynyrd) on B3+200A, Jason Kott ( Robert Randolph) and Paul Randolph ( Alice Cooper, Mudpuppy) on bass, Tim Grogan, Skeeto Valdez, Brian Clune, and Jeffrey “Shakey” Fowlkes ( Too Slim) on drums, Michael Puwal ( Kenny Wayne Shepherd) on guitar+bass, and Kimberli Wright on backing vocals.
Fowlkes’ high-octane beat and Puwal’s swampy slide guitar heats things up quite nicely as Neals takes charge vocally on a call for unity in “United We Stand”. She then follows up with an intoxicating dose of slow buttery blues featuring a searing guitar solo from Lopez on “Queen of the Nile”. It’s an extraordinary listen. “Lockdown Love” is a great song too. With Fowlkes and Puwal onboard, this red-hot track shares the frustrations of dealing with stress while living inside a covid-constructed bubble. Cloaked in a Sixties-mod fashion, “I Got a Gun”, featuring Billy Davis on guitar, is catchy as hell. When Quentin Tarantino finally gets around to filming Kill Bill 3, this song would be a perfect fit for the soundtrack. The gospel-soul-inspired “Heathen” is a beautiful piece with a Muscle Shoals vibe about taking out the trash. I love how Neals’ piano performance is coupled with Galvin behind the B3. I absolutely adore her cover of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”. Neals takes this 1969 classic and breathes into it a new glorious life with Lopez at the guitar helm absolutely tearing it up. When he plays, notes majestically hang in the air.
I can’t help but be a huge fan of Eliza Neals. Her approach to the Blues is a fresh and unique one. I thoroughly enjoyed “Badder to the Bone” from start to finish. It’s chockful of badassery for sure.
By Phillip Smith; April 9, 2022
Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com