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Danny Liston – Everybody

Looking back on his own life experiences, as well as what he witnessed others in the music industry going through, was the driving force for this recording. As Danny Liston tells it, it’s those situations – most of them dark – that have given him the inspiration to create and record songs of healing and forgiveness, songs to lift people up in these troubled times. As is always said of these types of deeds, if they help just one person, they will have succeeded.

Everybody, Danny Liston’s latest release, is a gathering of ten original and inspiring songs, of which a couple definitely had me saying “hmm”. For the project, Danny Liston – on acoustic guitar and vocals – is joined by: Steve Potts on drums; Davy Dave Smith on bass, background vocals humor; Will McFarlane on guitar and background vocals; Mark Narmore on piano and background vocals; Rick Steff on organ; Trinecia Butler and Kimberly Helton on background vocals; Alan Branstetter on trumpet; Brad Guin and Buddy Leach on saxophones. Additional keyboard players are Cory Edwards and Bob Lohr on piano, and Michael O’Hara on B3; and special guest vocalists are Bekka Bramlett and Pat Liston.

The disc opens with the powerful title track, “Everybody”…..as in

“Everybody needs somebody’s help, Ain’t nobody can do it all by themselves, Cause everybody needs somebody else.”

Truth, indeed. Musically, it’s a rhythm driven, soulful smoker with potent lyrics and a compelling vocal presentation that featured Bekka Bramlett going toe to toe with Danny.

If there were a lesson taught in singing classes titled “How to sing your heart out” the vocal instructor couldn’t do more right by his or her students than making them listen to “Real Man”. Yes, the lyrics had something to do with it, but the soulful, emotional and heartfelt vocal performance Danny belts out on this ballad literally gave me goosebumps. The musical arrangement, with Mark and Rick sounding magical on the piano and organ; Alan and Brad sounding heavenly on the horns; and the ladies combining for the hymnal effect on the backing vocals; are all spine chilling as well. Gotta give Jim Gaines a nod for the production and mixing work on this, the disc’s best track.

Although the clever lyrics to “Goodbye Jack Daniels” are somewhat humorous, remember – many a truth is said in jest. Having had enough with his wanton way of life and having looked death in the face, Danny finally throws his hands up in the air and shouts…

“Goodbye Jack Daniels, and the powder from Peru,
I wanna get on with my life, so there’s only one thing to do,
I need to start hangin’ ’round with Jesus, and quit hangin’ ’round with you,
So goodbye Jack Daniels, and the powder from Peru”.

Musically, Steve and Davy Dave are leading the way with more smokin’ rhythm; and Will is tearing it up on one of the disc’s best guitar tracks.

“Right As Rain” is a beautifully done ballad where the title is just one of the songs many delightful similes:

“Like a baby in a blanket, like New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain,
A hallelujah on Sunday morning, baby we are right as rain.
Like Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, a lemonade stand on a hot summer day,
A harvest moon in late October, and baby we are right as rain”.

There are more, but hearing Danny and the ladies delicately and soulfully sing them is how you need to hear them. Having said that the above track was the disc’s best guitar track, this one features some of Will’s most beautiful guitar work.

When I misread the title of this song as A Change Has To Come, I immediately thought it would be similar to the many songs, over the many years, that have rightfully been written and sung about just that – a change has to come. It wasn’t until I listened to the songs impactful lyrics when I realized the actual title was “A Change Has Come” – as in the change that has come over Danny when he let his “chains fall to the ground”. There are songs that people write from ideas; there are songs that people write out of creativity; there are songs that people write to be topical; and there are songs that people write from having lived them. Danny Liston leaves no doubt as how and why he wrote/co-wrote these.

Other sincere and truthful songs on Everybody include: “Didn’t Find My Blues”; “Old Friends”; “Love Everyday”; “Scandal’; and “Made to Rock”.

Should like to find out more about Danny Liston, just go to – www.dannyliston.com- Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro

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