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David Rotundo Band “So Much Trouble” Dreams We Share

There is a paragraph in David Rotundo’s biography that I just have to share with you all.  Ironically, as impressive as it sounds, it was the last four little words that blew me away.  Here ya go…..
“Throughout his career, David has performed with many musical greats including Lee Oskar; the legendary Jack de Keyzer Band; Ronnie Hawkins; Willie “Big Eyes” Smith; Madagascar Slim; Mel Brown; Jeff Healey; Johnny & Edgar Winter; Finis Tasby; James Cotton; Magic Slim & The Teardrops; Elvis Costello; Shakura S’Aida; and members of the Downchild Blues Band……(get ready for it)….. to name a few.”  WHAT? If that list, which contains a whole lot of legends, is just a few – then I’m in awe.

“So Much Trouble”, which contains all original music, is David’s fifth release.  For the project, David – on lead vocals, harmonica, guitar and group voices – is joined by: Milky Burgess, Skylar Mehal and Desmond Brown on guitar; Ron Weinstein on organ and piano; Ed Weber on piano; Andrew Cloutier on drums and group voices; Dean Schmidt on bass; Darian Asplund on saxophone; Phillip Peterson on cello; Joseph Ravi Albright on tabla; Denali Williams on percussion; Thor Dietrichson and Ernesto Pediangco on congas; Annie Jantzer on background vocals; and Lee Oskar (the albums producer), Eric Yager; Chris Weortink; Nick Foster; Timothy Hill; Julia Vega; Brian Madsen; and Ginger Woo on group voices.

No pun intended but “She’s Dynamite” definitely starts things off with a bang.  Right out of the gate David starts out with a scorching harp intro that’s followed by Andrew getting the rhythm up to top speed with some furious drum work.  Then just as it appears the track has peaked musically, Ron jumps in with a monster organ lead letting you know it hadn’t but is now.  Wow!

Although “I Must Be Crazy” indeed is, I’m reluctant to call it slow blues.  That said, I’m going with slow blues on steroids.  Reason being is everything about it is ridiculously powerful.  Yeah, the rhythm guys are in somewhat of a slow groove but by no means are they laid back; that organ heartbeat so familiar to slow blues has my heart approaching palpitations; both Milky’s lead guitar and  David’s harmonica licks are gruelingly gutsy; and with the level of passion and emotion that David reaches on the vocals he truly is crazy…..crazy good that is.  If I were still a nominator, I’d be crazy if I left this off of my song of the year selection.

I’m guessing that it was at least six or more months back when David wrote “Hard Times Coming” because had it been more recent I’m thinking he may have titled it “Hard Times Are Here”.  That said, he sure did call it right.  Everything from his sullenly sung melancholy lyrics to his moody acoustic guitar pickin’ and harp leads, are absolutely masterful.

Referring to the title track – “So Much Trouble” – one sheet writer Rick J Bowen nailed it when he said it was “reminiscent of a Pink Floyd anthem.”  Making that happen is the combination of sometimes powerful, sometimes finessed and all times heartfelt and soulful lead, background and group vocals by  David, Annie and Lee; and a most amazing crescendo building mission the band is on.

Vocally, the bar stays set very high on a track titled “Too Blue”.  If you’ve ever wondered if a song could sound like a hymn and yet sound sexy as well, expect this ballad to answer that question.  With David, Annie and Lee creating a harmonic background hum while David and Annie deeply and angelically trade vocal leads, this is another masterfully sung song.  Oh yeah, then there’s the music: with Dean’s rich bass lines leading the tranquil rhythm, David’s soothing harp leads and Milky’s contrasting, stinging guitar leads it’s another masterfully performed track as well.

Regardless of which bar he’s doing it at – and there are a few; or whom he’s doing it with – and there are many; in order to drink things off of his mind, David’s going to have to “Drink Overtime”.  Lyrically and vocally it’s a fun filled tryst but musically: with the harmonica wailing; the saxophone squalling; the organ flailing; and the rhythm bellowing; it’s as serious as a heart attack.

Back in the day this may very well have been referred to as trippin’ music but for the sake of political correctness and family reading, I’ll just call “Long Road” a trance inducing track.  Just sit back and let this gumbo of musical instruments and mystical voices carry you away.  For the record, what you will be hearing is a plethora of world music at the hands of; Denalli (percussion); Thor and Ernesto (congas); Joseph (tabla); Phillip (cello); Dean (bass); Andrew (drums); Dobro (Milky); and a choir of many.

Other tracks on “So Much Trouble”, what I’m thinking is going to be quite the hit, include: “Funky Side of Town”; “That Thing Called Love”; “Trying To Find It”; “Foolish Love”; and “Trouble In Mind”.

To find out more about the David Rotundo Band just go to David’s website – www.davidrotundo.com – Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro

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